Nipah Virus: All you need to know to stay alert and safe
Nipah Virus outbreak in India has made everyone concerned. Lacking knowledge is adding fuel to fire. In this article we have covered all the details about the Nipah Virus and its treatment. Kindly go through the details and stay safe.
What is Nipah Virus?
The Nipah virus is a highly contagious and deadly virus that was first identified in 1999 when pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore became very sick. During that outbreak, nearly 300 people were infected, and more than 100 people died. To stop the outbreak, authorities had to euthanize over one million pigs. Since then, the virus has been identified in outbreaks in Bangladesh and India. TheU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that outbreaks of Nipah virus now occur in Bangladesh almost every year, and there have been several outbreaks in India prior to the current one. The death rate from the Nipah virus is estimated to be about 75%.
Nipah virus infection gets its name from the village in Malaysia where the person from whom the virus was first isolated succumbed to the disease. The virus has been listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the OIE (OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code).
How does Nipah Virus spread?
The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses. The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids. Presumably, the first incidence of Nipah virus infection occurred when pigs in Malaysian farms came in contact with the bats who had lost their habitats due to deforestation. Furthermore, transmission between farms may be due to fomites – or carrying the virus on clothing, equipment, boots, vehicles.
The current outbreak of Nipah Virus in India
The outbreak is taking place in Kerala, a southern state in India. So far, 10 deaths have been reported, and there are currently at least nine other people who have tested positive for the virus and are quarantined. Multiple people who came into contact with the sick individuals are also under surveillance. Experts speculate that the ongoing outbreak was initially spread by bats.
Symptoms of Nipah Virus infection
Typically, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death. During the outbreak in Malaysia, up to 50 per cent of clinically apparent human cases died. There is no specific treatment for Nipah Virus. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.
Treatment for the Nipah Virus
There is no cure for the Nipah virus. Instead, people who are infected are treated with supportive care, which includes making sure the person stays hydrated and treating any nausea or vomiting. People can take steps to prevent Nipah “by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas and not drinking raw date palm sap,” which can be contaminated by excretions from infected bats, the CDC says.
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