Nipah Virus- Scientific name: Nipah Henipavirus
What is Nipah Virus (NiV)?
Nipah Virus was first discovered in 1999 during an outbreak of disease among pigs and people in Malaysia & Singapore. Since 1999 no other outbreak of disease found in Singapore & Malaysia. It was also discovered in Bangladesh in 2001.
In India, it was first detected in Siliguri, West Bengal in the year 2001 when approx. 45 people died due to this. Kerala reported the cases of the disease in 2018.
Nipah Virus is a zoonotic virus (Transmitted from animal to human). It can also be transmitted from food and people to people. It causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. Nipah Virus is caused by Fruit Bat ( Genus-Pteropus) so it is also known as Flying Fox.
Transmission of Nipah Virus
- Direct Contact of Nipah Virus with infected animals such as Bats & Pig or their body fluids such as ( Urine & Saliva).
- Consumption of food that is contaminated with the body fluids of infected animals ( such as palm sap or fruit contaminated by an infected bat.
- People can have the disease if they come in close contact with Nipah Virus or their body fluids (Nasal or respiratory droplets).
- Transmission can occur in person to the person once it spread to a person.
Transmission of the virus was also reported within a health care setting, where 75 % of cases occurred among hospital staff or visitors. From 2001 to 2008 around half of the cases reported in Bangladesh were due to human-to-human transmission in hospital staff during providing care to an infected patient.
Sign & Symptoms Of Nipah Virus
Infection of Nipah Virus can cause mild to severe disease. It includes swelling of the brain ( encephalitis) to potentially deadly.
There are initial symptoms of the disease:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty in breathing
- Myalgia( Muscle Pain)
Severe Symptoms are
- Disorientation,drowsiness & Confusion
- Seizure ( Uncontrolled Electric Disbalance In Brain)
- Brain Swelling ( Encephalitis)
Some people can also experience pneumonia and severe respiratory problems including severe respiratory distress. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe symptoms it may lead to coma within 24-48 hours. The incubation period ( interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) of the virus ranges from 4-14 days.
Death may occur in 40-75% of cases. Long-term side effects in survivors of the Nipah Virus have been noted including persistent conclusion and personality change.
- Wash hand with soap and water.
- Avoid contact with sick bats or pigs use gloves & masks while handling sick animals.
- Avoid areas where bats are known to roost.
- Avoid consumption of raw date palm sap.
- Avoid consumption of food that may be contaminated by bats, Pick Fresh Fruits.
- Avoid contact with body fluids ( Saliva and Urine) or the blood of any person known to be infected with the virus.
- As Nipah Virus (NiV) can be spread from person to person contact so Standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are very important to control the infection of the virus.
Nipah Virus can be diagnosed with laboratory test Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR test) using samples from the throat, nasal swabs, cerebrospinal fluids, blood, and urine.
Later testing of antibodies is also conducted by using ELISA( Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) in the course of illness and after recovery.
There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for Nipah Virus infection. Treatment is limited to supportive care, including rest, hydration, and treatment of symptoms as they occur. Standard infection control practices and Proper barrier techniques are important to avoid the spread of infection.
Frequently Asked Question
Question- How do people get Nipah Virus?
Answer- People can get Nipah Virus from contact with excrement or dropping of infected fruits bats, pigs, or from other people infected with the Nipah Virus.
Question- Is there a vaccine for Nipah Virus?
Answer- There is currently no vaccine for Nipah Virus.
Question- Who is at risk for Nipah Virus?
Answer- People of all ages are at risk for Nipah Virus. In Malaysia and Singapore, the infection has been associated with close contact with pigs. In Bangladesh and India, the infection has been associated with close contact with bats and the consumption of raw date palm sap, a source of food for the local bat population.
Question- How soon do symptoms appear?
Answer- Symptoms usually appear5-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Question- What can be done to prevent the spread of the Nipah Virus?
Answer- This disease can be prevented by avoiding animals that are known to be infected and using appropriate PPE ( Personal Protective Equipment) when it is necessary to come in contact with potentially infected animals in areas where the virus circulates.
Nipah Virus ( NiV) come into view 20 years ago as a new virus and it causes severe morbidity and mortality in humans as well as animals too. It destroyed Malaysia’s pig farming after that it came into Bangladesh and India. Its reservoir’s host fruits bats are widely distributed and NiV has been found in bats from different countries.
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