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Mass deaths of cave bats raise health concerns

Thousands of bats have died in an outbreak in Kanchanaburi's Si Sawat district, bringing health warnings from officials. (Post Today photo)

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Local villagers living near a cave in Kanchanaburi's Si Sawat district have been warned to avoid local water sources after thousands of giant-faced bats have died there since Wednesday.

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Bat deaths spur water use warning


Kanchanaburi: Authorities have warned local villagers living near a cave in Kanchanaburi's Si Sawat district where thousands of giant-faced bats have died since Wednesday to avoid consuming water from natural sources in the vicinity.

A team of veterinarians from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and university veterinary science faculties inspected the scene Sunday to collect carcasses of the stricken bats for laboratory examinations to find the cause of the deaths. 

The cave, which is located in a low-lying area of Erawan National Park, was flooded in recent heavy rains, which raised the water level and blocked the cave entrance.

The veterinarians initially suspected the water blockage caused the bats to die from suffocation after their air was limited and the floods prevented them from flying out of the cave, said Pattarapol Manmeeorn, the department's wildlife veterinarian.

The vets found traces of water on the cave walls, indicating the water level was unusually high.

Dr Pattarapol said locals near the park were advised to temporarily avoid using water from creeks and reservoirs in the vicinity until tests could prove the water is safe.

Public health volunteers were also asked to help monitor villagers' health for a week to check for any symptoms of sickness.

Dr Pattarapol said that apart from the bat carcasses collected for laboratory examinations, the vets also collected saliva samples from some living bats in the cave to check whether they had contracted a virus that leads to the Mers and Sars diseases.

Those results were expected to come out in the next two to six weeks.

The Mers and Sars viruses can be transmitted from animals to human beings.

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advise : to tell somebody what you think they should do in a particular situation - แนะนำ, แจ้ง

authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ

avoid : to stay away from; to not use - หลีกเลี่ยง

bat (noun): an animal like a mouse with wings, that flies and feeds at night - ค้างคาว

block : to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else - ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง

blockage : a thing that blocks flow or movement, for example of a liquid in a narrow place - การปิดกั้น, การปิดล้อม, การขัดขวาง

carcass : the body of a dead animal - ซาก

cause : the person or thing that makes something happen - สาเหตุ

cave : a large hole in the side of a hill or under the ground - ถ้ำ

collect (verb): to gather together a group/set/amount of things, often of the same sort - สะสม, เก็บรวบรวม

consume : to eat, drink or use something - บริโภค

contract  : to become infected with a disease - ติดเชื้อ

creek : a narrow stream; a very small river - ลำธาร โกรกธารเล็กๆ

Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (noun): an agency of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment responsible for overseeing the country's national parks, wildlife and plants - กรมอุทยานแห่งชาติ สัตว์ป่า และพันธุ์พืช

entrance : a door, gate, passage, etc. used for entering a room, building or place - ทางเข้า

faculty : a group of departments in a college or university which specialise in a particular subject or group of subjects - คณะ

flood (noun): a large amount of water covering an area that is usually dry - น้ำท่วม

flood (verb): to cover with water or another liquid - ท่วม

human being (noun): a person rather than an animal or a machine - มนุษย์

indicate : to show that something is true, exists or will happen - แสดง, ทำให้รู้

initially : at first - ในเบื้องต้น

inspect : to look at something carefully - ตรวจสอบ, ตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด

laboratory : a room or building used for scientific research, experiments, testing, etc - ห้องปฏิบัติการ, ห้องทดลอง

level : the amount of liquid that there is in a container, which can be seen by how high the liquid is - ระดับ

limited : not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด

local : in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

locals : people who live in a particular place - ชาวบ้าน

located : where something is - ตั้งอยู่

low-lying (adj): (of land) not high, and usually fairly flat - ลุ่ม

monitor : keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต

natural : existing in nature; not made or caused by humans - เป็นธรรมชาติ, ตามธรรมชาติ

prevent (verb): to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, ป้องกัน, กัน, กีดขวาง

prove : to use facts, evidence, etc. to show that something is true - พิสูจน์

public health (noun): the health of all the people in a country, city or community and their health issues; also the name of a government department - การสาธารณสุข

reservoir : a natural or artificial lake where water is stored - อ่างเก็บน้ำ

saliva : the liquid produced by glands in your mouth - น้ำลาย

sample : a small amount of a substance that is used for scientific or medical tests - ตัวอย่างทดลอง

scene : site; a place where something happens or happened - สถานที่เกิดเหตุ

source : the place something comes from or starts at, or the cause of something - แหล่ง, แหล่งกำเนิด

spur : to cause something to happen - ก่อให้เกิด 

stricken : affected by serious problems such as injury or illness - ได้รับผลกระทบจากปัญหาหนักหน่วง

suffocation : dying from a lack of air to breathe - การขาดอากาศหายใจ

suspected : thought to be something - เป็นที่สงสัย

symptom : a sign that someone has an illness - อาการ

temporarily : for a limited period of time - ชั่วคราว

traces : very small amounts of a substance - ร่องรอย

transmitted (verb): sent, spread from one person or animal to another - ส่ง, ถ่าย

vet (noun): (short form of veterinarian) a person with a medical degree trained to take care of the health of animals - สัตวแพทย์

veterinarian : a person with a medical degree trained to take care of the health of animals - สัตวแพทย์

veterinary science : the science involving the care of animals -

vicinity : an area near a particular place - บริเวณใกลเคียง

volunteer (noun): someone who is not paid for the work that they do; someone who does something willingly without being required to - อาสาสมัคร

wall : any of the vertical sides of a building or room; a long vertical solid structure, made of stone, brick or concrete, that surrounds, divides or protects an area of land - ผนังห้อง; กำแพง

warning : an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - การเตือน

wildlife : animals, birds, insects, etc. that are wild and live in a natural environment - สัตว์ป่า


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