This latest emerging zoonosis is grabbing the attention of all the healthcare professionals and media persons. The outbreak of this virus has taken several lives in Kerala. Kerala has been on high alert due to the emergence of this deadly virus. The mysterious death of eight people in Kerala has threatened the country all around. The cause of these deaths came out to be an unheard virus, NIPAH virus. This virus is a mystery for many and is yet to be understood. Such outbreaks are of much concern in India as these are taking several lives every year due to lack of awareness and disease tracking systems. Till date, no vaccines have been developed and in such case, only treatment left is self-help and supportive care.
Let’s study what this Nipah virus is all about.
What is Nipah Virus?
According to WHO, Nipah Virus is a newly emerging virus causing diseases in both animals and humans. Niv was first discovered in 1998 during its outbreak in Malaysia. The pigs were intermediate hosts at that time and it got transferred to humans through them. WHO quoted that the natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus. In 2004 in Bangladesh human became infected with this NiV virus by consuming date palms contaminated by infected fruit bats.
Transmission can occur in following ways:
- Transmission of NiV to humans occurs by consuming fruits eaten by infected bats and birds.
- Coming in direct contact with infected bats and pigs
- Coming in contact with people infected with NiV.
Signs and symptoms:
As per the experts, NiV is an airborne transmission infection and can affect those who come in direct contact with the contaminated bodies. The infection can occur in humans without even showing any symptoms. The incubation period of the virus ranges from 5 to 14 days and symptoms became visible after this period.
When the symptoms starts these look like influenza symptoms. Some of the common signs and symptoms are enlisted below:
- Abdominal pain
- Throat irritation
- Mental issues such as confusion
At next stage it will start affecting your respiratory system. Patient will experience mild to severe acute respiratory infection. Beginning with wheezing and difficulty in breathing this will lead to acute pneumonia along with some other severe problems.
After that, it will cause fatal encephalitis. It is primarily associated with inflammation of the brain which shows symptoms such as drowsiness, dizziness, exhaustion, stiffness, slower movements, altered consciousness further leading to coma and even death.
Since no such vaccine has been developed till yet to cure NiV. So it becomes necessary to follow some of the precautionary measures as mentioned below:
- Wash your hands with soap
- Avoid close contact with people who are infected.
- Avoid drinking unpasteurized juices or eating partly eaten fruits.
- Wash and peel fruits properly before eating.
- Maintain good hygiene at your house and workplace.
- Wear masks (NH-95 grade or above).
- Avoid going near animal pens.
- Keep your household items such clothes, utensils neat and clean.
- Make yourself aware of the disease.
Ensure to follow these precautionary measures to protect ourselves and our society from this killer infection. Spreading awareness and supportive care can help to minimize the risk of spreading this infection.Leave a reply →