The 'Flying Forward: A Sustainable Solution to Nipah Virus Transmission from Bats to Humans in Nipah Belt Region' project was developed by Parami undergraduate students. At the One Health Hackathon, the students presented their final project on finding solutions to global issues using the One Health perspective. This is one of many projects developed by Parami undergraduate students from the Introduction to Infectious Diseases and One Health course taught in the Spring semester by two instructors, Soe Yu Naing, M.SC., and Max Van Wijk, M.SC.
According to the group, “Discussing and working on topics related to the Nipah virus and deforestation is crucial for health, ecosystem preservation, and sustainable development. It allows us to understand the underlying factors, develop effective solutions, and mitigate the risks associated with these issues.”
Nipah virus outbreaks can have devastating consequences on public health, including high mortality rates and significant economic and social impacts on affected communities. By understanding the factors contributing to its transmission, especially deforestation, we can implement preventive measures and strategies to reduce the risk of future outbreaks. Deforestation has far-reaching consequences beyond Nipah virus transmission. It contributes to habitat loss, loss of biodiversity, and climate change and impacts the livelihoods of local communities that rely on forest resources.
A Sustainable Solution to Nipah Virus Transmission
There are some correlations between the Nipah virus and deforestation, but a critical consideration should be
that deforestation is the root cause of the Nipah virus based on some factors. For example, deforestation creates fewer residential areas for bats. It increases the interaction between humans and bats in different districts in Bangladesh called the Nipah Belt Region, including Narsingdi, Rajbari, Shariatpur, Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, and Pabna.
This project mainly targets how the Nipah virus and deforestation have been correlated and what realistic solutions can take an effective account of the target regions and local people according to one health perspective with specific and measurable actions. It also aims to increase bat roosting areas in the Nipah belt, taking into account animal, human, and environmental factors, to prevent further outbreaks of the Nipah virus.
The project proposes the creation of artificial roosts, community engagement, and deforestation restrictions to mitigate the problem.
One Health emphasizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. Working in this context often involves collaborating with diverse stakeholders from different disciplines, sectors, and cultural backgrounds. The group members highlighted the key takeaway from this class project, such as improved teamwork, communication, and negotiation skills essential to engage and work with others toward shared goals effectively.
"I developed a systems thinking mindset, recognizing that health issues are influenced by multifaceted factors and require holistic approaches. According to our topic, this perspective helped me gain a deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between deforestation, habitat loss, and the increased risk of zoonotic disease transmission. The course provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practical applications of One Health. These key takeaways will not only benefit me in the context of the Nipah virus and deforestation project but also in my future endeavors to promote integrated approaches to health and well-being, " said Theint Thada Phyu, one of the project managers.