Health A to Z Last updated on 2021-02-26 20:52:21
Staying a Step Ahead of NIPAH Virus
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 3 Min Read
The NIPAH virus which struck the country back in early 2018 is back again. This infectious virus is carried by animals like fruit bats and pigs and has become worse as it’s spreading from person to person. In May 2018 the virus claimed seventeen lives and hospitalized many more in Kerala. This year, already 314 people have been quarantined and the regions neighbouring the state of Kerala have been put on alert. The NIPAH virus in South-East Asia is responsible for a fatality rate of 40%-75%. This disease was first reported in 1998-1999 in Malaysia and Singapore among pig farmers. The disease can remain asymptomatic or present as a respiratory infection or confusion which progresses to fatal encephalitis. Some of the various symptoms of NIPAH virus infection are-
- Fever and headaches
- Myalgia or muscle pain
- Vomiting and sore throat
- Altered mental state
- Lethargy and sleepiness
- Personality changes
- Difficulty in speech
- Confusion and hallucinations
- Severe respiratory problems
- Atypical pneumonia
- Stopping bat to human transmission- Fruit bats are the primary carriers of the NIPAH virus and they spread it to humans by infecting fruits and date palm juice. Keeping bats away from food sources is the main line of defense. The collected date palm juice should be boiled before use. Fruits should be washed and peeled before eating.
- Stopping animal to human transmission- People should wear gloves, masks, and other protective gear while handling sick animals during quarantine or culling. People should completely avoid any kind of contact with infected pigs and animals. Added to this, pig feed and pig housing sheds should be protected from bats.
- Stopping human to human transmission- Unprotected contact with NIPAH patients should be avoided by others. While caring for those affected by it, one should always wear protective gear and wash hands after visiting the sick.
Consult a General Physician
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