As per the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah virus (NiV) is zoonotic virus which is transmitted to people from animals
Nipah Virus (NiV): It all came to the limelight when a 12 year old boy from Kozhikode, Kerala died due to Nipah virus.
After his death, the local authorities started checking if the virus has spread to some other local areas. After checking thoroughly, National Institute of Virology, Pune confirmed this to be caused by Nipah virus.
After a thorough inspection, Kerala Health Minister stated that as many as 2 more people have been identified with the virus.
These two people who have been identified are about to be shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College by evening. All other family members of these two people have been asked to remain isolated.
Following the incident, the pay ward of the Medical College Hospital has been entirely converted into a dedicated Nipah ward.
The Health Minister is constantly following all the checks in the state as well as neighboring states as well. Take a look at some of the frequently asked questions about Nipah virus.
What is Nipah virus?
WHO has identified Nipah virus as zoonotic virus which is transmitted from people to animals. It can also be transmitted to people from contaminated food or from person to person
After a person is infected with NiV virus, the person shows a range of illness in the form of asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory problems along with fatal encephalitis.
The virus is also reported to have caused severe illness in animals like pig.
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How does Nipah Virus Spread?
As per data collected from US CDC, NiV, this virus can spread to people from:
- Consuming contaminated food products which has been specifically contaminated by the body fluids of infected animals like palm sap or some fruits contaminated by an infected bat
- When a person comes in direct contact with animals like pigs, bats or their body fluids like blood, urine or saliva
- Close contact with someone who is already infected with NiV or their body fluids that includes blood, urine or respiratory or nasal droplet
Symptoms of Nipah Virus Infection
Once a person gets infected with NiV virus, the infection may range from asymptomatic to acute respiratory infections including fatal encephalitis and seizures.
The above symptoms may follow others like altered consciousness levels, drowsiness and dizziness and some other neurological signs indicating acute encephalitis
There are cases where patients complain severe respiratory issues and atypical pneumonia including acute respiratory distress. In some severe cases, symptoms like seizures and encephalitis are common. In such cases, the person may slowly progress towards coma within 24-48 hours.
The fatality rate of Nipah virus is reported to be 40-75 percent. But this can vary depending on the kind of proper clinical management and surveillance in the affected areas.
Treatment for NiV
Currently, there are no vaccines or drugs that can act against the infection of Nipah virus. On the other hand, WHO has identified this virus to be a priority disease causing virus to be researched urgently.
As some precautionary measures that need to be taken into consideration is to have a close supervision of burial or incineration of carcasses. This needs to be ensured to minimize the causes of the spread of this virus.
Another effective way will be to restrict the movements of animals from infected farms to other adjoining areas.