Nipah Virus

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Nipah Virus

Nipah Virus- Its outbreak, Symptoms & Treatment

Key Facts about Nipah Virus

1. Nipah Virus is a zoonosis disease i.e. the cause of serious illness in both animals and humans. This virus was first recognized in Malaysia and Singapore in

2.1998. Nipah Virus is usually associated with swelling of the brain, which can cause fever and even persistent drowsiness, these symptoms can cause coma in a 24-48 hour period.

3. Some common symptoms of Nipah Virus cause issues such as a headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion. These symptoms can last up to 7-10 days.

4. At any cost, someone should not be exposed to the saliva of the infected person.

5. According to the WHO, "There is strong evidence that the rise of viral infection related to the bat is transitive to humans and animals, which are responsible for the loss of the natural habitat of the bat."

The outbreak of Nipah Virus

It was recognized in the year 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia. Notably, no new outbreaks have been reported in Malaysia since 1999.  After that, the diseases were reported in Bangladesh in the year 2001.  Since then, every year the cases of Nipah are reported in the country. Apart from Bangladesh, the disease was identified periodically in eastern India.  A lot of countries are at risk of infection of Nipah Virus.  The countries are as follows:

1. Cambodia

2. Ghana

3. Indonesia

4. Madagascar

5. Philippines

6. Thailand

Symptoms of the disease

The virus can be transmitted. During its outbreak in Malaysia, the main reason behind the transmission of the disease was the direct contact of human and infected pigs. In the subsequent outbreak in India and Bangladesh, consumption of fruits such as date palm which were contaminated with urine or saliva from infected bats became the main cause of transmission.

Initial symptoms consist of:

1.Fever

2. Muscle Pain

3. Vomiting

4.Sore throat

5. Some people even face respiratory problems.

The incubation period (the interval from the infection to onset of the symptoms)  is believed to range between 4- 14 days. According to a report in WHO, the highest incubation period reported was of 45 days.

The fatality rate is reported 40 percent to 75 percent. The rate can vary depending upon the clinical management of the country or a place.  People who survive acute encephalitis make a full recovery, but long term neurologic conditions are reported in the survivors.

Diagnosis of the disease

Initial signs and symptoms of the disease are not specific. It is very difficult to identify them in the first stage. It makes the disease dangerous.  It can be diagnosed with clinical history during the acute convalescent phase of the disease.

There are two main tests used to detect the disease, they are as follows:

Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from bodily fluids and antibody detection via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). 

Is there any treatment available?

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

According to WHO, ribavirin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease. Individuals infected need to be hospitalized and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.

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