Highlights of Nipah Virus : Gears Up to Prevent the Spread of Newly Emerged Disease

As per World Health Organization, Nipah Virus is newly emerging zoonosis that has adverse effects on both animals and humans. It is a highly contagious virus that was first reported in 1998 in Malaysia and Singapore. During the outbreak, approximately 250 infections and 210 deaths were registered. Now it’s back and is no stranger to India.

In past one month, it has already claimed 9 lives in Kerala and over 20 victims are hospitalized who are carrying the same symptoms.  Do you know, the mortality rate from Nipah Virus is estimated to be about 75%.

How is the Disease Transmitted?

Fruit bats or flying foxes are one of the main reasons for spreading the disease. The virus is generally present in bat urine, saliva, and birthing fluids. Being a communicable disease, the virus can be transmitted through infected humans, bats, or pigs. Humans have been also infected due to consumption of fresh fruits, raw date palm sap, and other poorly washed or half consumed fruits.

What are the symptoms and signs of Nipah Virus?

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Stomach Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Chocking
  • Respiratory problems
  • Body Pain
  • Blurred Vision

The incubation period for the symptoms is from 6 to 14 days. Once diagnosed, the treatment should be started immediately. It can affect lungs and leads to asymptomatic infection and inflammation of brain tissues.

Which Precautions Should Be Taken?

  • Stay away from infected people and in case you have to touch the person then ensure you sanitize your hands time to time.
  • Belongings of infected people including utensils, clothes or other items should be kept separately.
  • Try to avoid drinking toddy brewed in open containers near palm trees.
  • If you are transmitting the body of a died person of this virus, ensure that your face is properly covered, especially the nose.
  • Do not climb the trees where bats have left their saliva or secretions.

Can it be treated?

Till date, there is no vaccination or medicine available for this virus to cure people or animals. Though the only treatment is intensive supportive care, efforts are made by the government to develop preventive measures and combat the spread of this deadly virus.

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