There has been a recent News Buzz about the outbreak of Nipah virus in India. Here is a Small Article to make you aware of this Virus, it’s history, mode of spread, Signs, and Symptoms and how to Prevent yourself from a Possible infection.
About the Virus:
Nipah Virus is a newly emerged Species of Zoonotic Virus with Very few cases till now discovered world wide but with a high fatality rate. Zoonotic Viruses are a subset of viruses that infect both humans and animals. Nipah has become a cause of concern because of it’s High Mortality rate. Out of an estimated 582 human cases of Nipah virus world – wide, 54 percent were fatal.
The Virus belongs to genus henipavirus of the Paramyxoviridae family. The natural host of these viruses are fruit-eating small bats or some poultry animals like pigs. Humans that end up being a secondary host in case of close contact with an infected animal or by coming into contact with another infected human.
Nipah Virus Outbreaks occurred in Malaysia and Singapore in 1999. In India, 3 outbreaks have occurred in 2001, 2007 and now in 2018.
Signs and Symptoms:
The symptoms start to appear within 3–14 days after initial exposure.
Some cases may remain asymptomatic while most cases include symptoms like fever, headache, drowsiness followed by disorientation and mental confusion. These symptoms can sometimes progress very fast ending up the patient in a coma state as fast as within 24–48 hours.
Encephalitis or inflammation of the Brain tissue the dreaded complication of nipah virus infection which is the cause of Disorientation, dizziness and Confusion.
In some cases, respiratory illness and difficulty breathing can occur which can in severe cases lead to a complete respiratory failure.
In fact Encephalitis and Respiratory failure become the prime causes of mortality in the Infection.
The disease is suspected in symptomatic individuals ONLY in the context of an epidemic outbreak.
Who is at Risk of Infection?
Those dealing with agricultural work in areas where infected animals are present. Specially where bats of the fruit eating family exist.
Those who are in date palm, or fruticulture farmers and professionals that may get infected by coming in contact with Fruits that have been fed or bitten by infected bats and animals.
Also healthcare professionals dealing with infected patients are at risk.
Areas where outbreaks have occured include Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, And Parts of India including South India, and Southeast India including states of Kerela, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Preventive steps include avoiding contact with the Natural hosts like fruit-eating Bats and Pigs in areas of an epidemic. Avoiding consumption of fruits that may have been partially consumed or bitten by fruit-eating bats in epidemic areas. Properly wash and Clean fruits with care. Consuming or handling raw date palm sap in epidemic areas is not advised.
In addition, Healthcare staff is at a higher risk as they are in constant touch with infected patients and should wear proper protective gear while treating and managing patients infected with the virus. Also In case of an Epidemic in your area, using Protective masks or gear in crowdy places or near places where poultry animals exist is advisable.
So far no effective Vaccine is available out there. The treatment is a Symptomatic care to control symptoms and manage body vitals and other Supportive care to help the body recover on it’s own. No Substantial and specific cure is available as of yet.
More info can also be obtained from this link on the Virus:
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