NiV – Nipah virus, an RNA(ribonucleic acid) virus from genus Hepinavirus, created a wave of terror in the district of Kerala, India. So what is Nipah virus, lets have an outlook from the medical window so we can understand, educate, and protect ourselves and ones around us from this deadly outbreak.
Outbreaks have also occurred in Siliguri,India in the year 1999 as a part of Nosocomial transmission(hospital acquired infection). Later an outbreak occurred in Bangladesh in the year 2001 and ithas been an annual risk for the nation.
Nipah virus made India anxious with it’s latest outbreak in the district of Kerala where it has taken 18 lives including the life of a health professional, a 31 year old nurse who was working with patients infected with Nipah virus.
Source of Infection
The host ( where the virus primarily resides ) is believed to be Bat ( fruit bats specifically) . Pigs are also thought to be the source of infection.
This virus gets transmitted when bats feed on fruits and these fruits are later consumed by humans, the transmission of virus also occurs from infected humans/patients .
In Malaysia and Singapore, Nipah virus infection occurred in those with close contact to infected pigs. In Bangladesh and India, the disease has been linked to consumption of raw date palm sap (toddy) and contact with bats.
“Symptoms – the physical or mental feature that is regarded as indication of a disease”.
Symptoms begin to appear 3-14 days after the infection .
- This virus is known to affect the Central nervous system ( C.N.S.) leading to fever, drowsiness, mental confusion, and dis-orientation.
- Respiratory system can also get affected leading to cough and difficulty in breathing.
- Progression of disease can put a person into coma within 24-48 hours .
- One of the fatal complications associated with Nipah virus infection is ENCEPHALITIS ( Inflammation of brain), this condition leads to seizures( impaired, abnormal, uncontrolled activity originating from brain, a fit in layman language).
- There is 50-75 % death risk with this infection, making it indeed a deadly virus.
To this date there is no cure for Nipah virus infection, the treatment is focused on supportive care where symptoms are managed trying to prevent any further damage to the patient preventing any long term complications.
The government is working effortlessly to prevent any progression of this outbreak and so far it has been successful as there are no new cases reported and Kerala breathes in the air of relief. Much needed !
Prevention is better than cure, has been and will always be !
- Drinking of raw palm sap(palm toddy) contaminated by bat excrete(waste), eating of fruits that are partially consumed by bats and using water from wells infested by bats should be avoided at all costs.
- Bats are known to drink toddy that is collected in open containers, and occasionally urinate in it, which makes it contaminated.
- Standard disease control approach should be followed, as the main source are fruit bats, avoid consuming fruits that appear to be half eaten or marked or punched out with any signs that they could be infected.
- Panic is not going to help let alone save anyone, and as long as we are aware of what’s going on around us, we can save ourselves and soon the world, it’s only a matter of time.
“Awareness will save this world from problems of today and tomorrow.
Yesterday can’t be changed but today is still in our hands and a wise today can make a brilliant tomorrow”.
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