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Everything You Need to Know About the Deadly Nipah Virus

By Dr. Vandana Boobna in Internal Medicine

Nov 08 , 2020 | 2 min read

With a high mortality rate of 70%, NiV or Nipah Virus Infection has become a public health concern. Hence, we at Max Healthcare, take this platform to inform and educate the people about this deadly virus and how to keep themselves away from encountering it.

What is Nipah Virus?

NiV or Nipah Virus Infection is an emerging zoonotic pathogen that was first detected in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia, in 1998. The virus is transmitted to humans from animals and has disturbing abilities. Fruit bats are the primary suspects behind the current Nipah outbreak; however, the animal husbandry department is trying hard to nail the actual carrier of this deadly virus in India.

Who is at Risk?

  • The Nipah virus can be transferred to humans through infected pigs, bats and humans
  • People who accidentally consume fruits bitten by infected bats
  • People who consume pigs or are working with them
  • People who come in direct contact with those with the infection

 

nipah virus

How to Identify the Early Signs of Infection?

Those who come in direct contact with contaminated individuals, bats, pigs and fruits are at a higher risk of falling prey to this deadly virus. Knowing the early symptoms can help in saving precious lives. The early symptoms of Nipah include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, fever muscle pain and headache
  • State of confusion, persistent drowsiness and disorientation
  • Photophobia – discomfort to the eyes due to light exposure
  • Neck rigidity

If not treated on time and taken care of, these symptoms can lead to coma. Watching out for neurological, respiratory and pulmonary signs during the early stages is also a must. The signs mentioned above can last for 7-10 days and may take 4-14 days to show up. If left untreated, all these symptoms may lead to brain fever and ultimately death.

How to Keep Yourself Protected?

Though there is still no vaccine that can keep one protected from encountering the ill effects of the virus; there are certainly some precautions that one should follow to eliminate the chances. These include:

  • Maintaining personal hygiene
  • Washing hands after every outdoor activity
  • Wearing a mask (N95) when going out
  • Avoiding drinking date palm sap and consuming unwashed fruits and those that have fallen on the ground
  • Sticking to home-cooked food till the virus subsides
  • Avoiding unprotected contact with those infected

We at Max Healthcare advise one and all to get any health abnormality immediately tested from a recognised facility to keep chances of falling prey to the Nipah Virus away.

How is Nipah Virus Diagnosed?

A combination of tests is used to diagnose the Nipah Virus Infection. Viral isolation, RT-PCR, and antibody detection by the ELISA tests are the tests that healthcare professionals most often use. Though no particular drug can help cure the infection, healthcare centres are providing the patients with intensive care to treat and ease the severe respiratory and neurological complications that follow the infection.

A Word from Max Healthcare

Nipah virus infection rapidly spreads, so prevention is the only cure. One should strictly follow the precautions mentioned above to keep their family members away from encountering this virus while ensuring their well-being. Meanwhile, the health officials are doing their best to ensure that the outbreak comes to a halt and there are no further causalities reported. Till then, it remains a matter of speculation.