Dr. Nurul Azmawati Binti Mohamed. USIM
Dr. Mohd Dzulkhairi Mohd Rani, USIM
Prof. Datin Dr. Che Ilina Che Isahak, USIM
Dr. Nur Indah Ahmad, UPM
Dr. Kenny Voon Gah Leong, IMU
Frankie Thomas Sitam, PERHILITAN
Shalinawati Ramli, USIM
Bat-related infections had remained out of focus despite notable outbreaks such as Ebola, SARS, MERS-CoV, and Nipah were known to originate from bats. In recent years, new bat-related viruses such as Tioman virus (TioPV) and Pteropine Orthoreovirus (PRV) had been discovered, but little is known about them. We identify that it is imperative to assess the health awareness of the people of Tioman Island against bat-borne infections and the immunology of the newly emerging virus, PRV. The study used 40-item questionnaires in face-to-face interviews with more than 300 participants to assess awareness of the residents of Tioman Island about bat-related infections. Serology investigation of 175 serum samples (obtained from residents of Tioman Island) was used to measure the prevalence and immunologic activities of the natural human antibodies against PRV. We reported the score of awareness according to three elements of knowledge, attitude and practice, as weak, neutral and good respectively. This result reflects that awareness of bat-related infections was still lacking, but practices against them were good among residents of Tioman Island. The result implicates and suggests improvements to promote healthy practices against bat-related infections. Serology study is still ongoing, but early results revealed 48% of serum sample showing some antibodies response to the cell lines infected with PRV. Lab work is continuing to affirm these results and investigate immunologic activities against the virus. The percentage of immunologic activities found to not coincide with the previous molecular study which revealed the presence of PRV in active URTI is 17% [Voon et al. 2015]. Among the residence of Tioman Island, knowledge and attitude against bats-borne infections were poor but practice against them were good. Early serology study revealed a high proportion of immunologic activities among residents of Tioman Island against PRV (48%), but more work is being done to verify and investigate it further.