, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 196–203 | Cite as

Date Palm Sap Collection: Exploring Opportunities to Prevent Nipah Transmission

  • Nazmun NaharEmail author
  • Rebeca Sultana
  • Emily S. Gurley
  • M. Jahangir Hossain
  • Stephen P. Luby
Original Contribution


Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a seasonal disease in Bangladesh that coincides with the date palm sap collection season. Raw date palm sap is a delicacy to drink in Bengali culture. If fruit bats that are infected with NiV gain access to the sap for drinking, they might occasionally contaminate the sap through saliva and urine. In February 2007, we conducted a qualitative study in six villages, interviewing 27 date palm sap collectors (gachhis) within the geographical area where NiV outbreaks have occurred since 2001. Gachhis reported that bats pose a challenge to successful collection of quality sap, because bats drink and defecate into the sap which markedly reduces its value. They know some methods to prevent access by bats and other pests but do not use them consistently, because of lack of time and resources. Further studies to explore the effectiveness of these methods and to motivate gachhis to invest their time and money to use them could reduce the risk of human Nipah infection in Bangladesh.


date palm sap collection Nipah virus local preventative methods bats Bangladesh 



This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CoAg Grant 5-U01-CI000298-03. International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) acknowledges, with gratitude, the commitment of the CDC to the Centre’s research efforts. We are grateful to our study participants for their time and invaluable information. We thank Main Uddin and Asma Sharmin Muna for their assistance in data collection and transcription of interviews; Rasheda Khan and M. Salah Uddin Khan for contributing to preliminary planning meetings for this study; Dorothy Southern for her guidance in writing manuscripts; and Lara Lise Barker for editing.


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Copyright information

© Center for Disease Control 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nazmun Nahar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebeca Sultana
    • 1
  • Emily S. Gurley
    • 1
  • M. Jahangir Hossain
    • 1
  • Stephen P. Luby
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Programme on Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Sciences (PIDVS), Health Systems and Infectious Diseases Division (HSID), International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B)DhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)AtlantaUSA

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