A mysterious virus called Nipah is causing great concern in Kerala. Kerala has been on high alert due to mysterious deaths of ten people because of this virus. Out of these, six were reported to be caused by Nipah Virus (NiV). The efforts of the department in Kozhikode and Malappuram where the spread of the infection has alarmed the locals.
As per Centres of Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organisation, NiV infection is a newly emerging zoonosis (diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals) therefore causing severe disease in both animals and humans. Transmission of Nipah virus to humans may occur after direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or from other NiV infected people. NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998.
Signs and Symptoms
Infection with NiV is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). After exposure and an incubation period of 5 to 14 days, illness presents with 3-14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion. These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.
During the NiV disease outbreak in 1998-99, 265 patients were infected with the virus. About 40% of those patients who entered hospitals with serious nervous disease died from the illness.
Treatment is limited to supportive care as there are no vaccines available purely for the treatment of NiV. Because NiV encephalitis can be transmitted person-to-person, standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are important in preventing hospital-acquired infections.
Both the State and Central Government officials are keeping a close eye on this virus. Keep following Be. The Solution for the latest on health and hygiene.
Reference: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention