Nipah virus infection
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
This virus was first identified in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998. At that time, it was primarily caused in pigs and through them got transferred to humans. Nipah Virus infected as many as 265 people then, out of which 40 percent were taken under intensive care due to the infection having spread severely. As quoted by the WHO, the natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
The virus can be transferred through infected bats, pigs or humans who have been infected. In 2004, humans who consumed the date palm sap infected by fruit bats caught the virus as well. Humans who were infected by other humans were reported in Bangladesh and India.
Symptoms of the Nipah infection
Typically, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death. During the outbreak in Malaysia, up to 50 percent of clinically apparent human cases died. There is no specific treatment for Nipah Virus. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.
While there is no vaccine available for the infection, preventive measures can be a key to control the spread. With fruits bats being the primary cause of infection, the farm animals should be prevented from eating fruit contaminated by bats. Consumption of contaminated date palm sap including toddy should also be avoided. Physical barriers can be put in place in order to prevent bats from accessing and contaminating palm sap.
Medical officials who are looking after the patients with suspected or confirmed NiV should take basic precautions like washing hands, using a gown, cap mask and wearing gloves. For laboratory personnel, Nipah virus is classified internationally as a biosecurity level (BSL) 4 agent. BSL 2 facilities are sufficient if the virus can be first inactivated during specimen collection.
In case of animals, wire screens can help prevent contact with bats when pigs are raised in open-sided pig sheds. Run-off from the roof should be prevented from entering pig pens. practice. Early recognition of infected pigs can help protect other animals and humans. Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus in swine populations, mass culling of seropositive animals may be necessary.
why in news ?
Kerala has been on high alert due to mysterious deaths of eight people because of an unidentified viral attack. Out of these, three were reported to be caused by Nipah Virus(NiV). As per the National Institute of Virology, Pune,Nipah Virus is the sole cause of these three deaths
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