Another virus from bats has been in the headlines these days and the worst part is its pandemic potential. This zoonotic virus prompts critical encephalitis and is named the Nipah virus. The Nipah Virus has been diagnosed in India, Nepal and the rest of the world. Let’s have a look at some details of the virus;
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Basics and Facts
- The virus has a high mortality rate of 40-75%.
- Nipah virus is listed as a high-risk virus with level-4 pathogen safety.
- Fruit bats are the major carrier of the virus.
- The virus also infects and transmits from pigs.
- It emerged first in Malaysia in 1998.
- The virus had multiple outbreaks in Bangladesh from 2001-2005.
- Person-to-person transmission of the virus is evident.
- Recent outbreaks of the virus are seen in India and Bangladesh.
- Just like Corona Virus, the Nipah virus can also be asymptomatic.
- Most common symptoms appear within 4-14 days of infection.
- The virus can show dormant infection and an infected person can die even after a year.
- Personality changes and convulsions are the side effects of the virus to some who recovered from it.
- The rate of transmission is less than 1 person per infection.
Cause and Spread of Virus
The one and only source of the virus is the fruit bats(genus Pteropus). They can directly or indirectly(via pigs) infect humans. The infection can spread with the bodily fluids of the infected bats or other animals or by having close contact with the infected animal or human.
Symptoms and effects of the virus
The most common symptoms of this virus are;
- Breathing issues
- Sore throat
The worst-case scenario of the virus lends humans with severe encephalitis, Brais swell, Coma or even Death.
Prevention and Precautions
Since there is no effective treatment for the virus, it is better to prevent yourself from getting infected. Here are some tips;
- Stay away from bats and properly wash the fruits that could be infected by the bats.
- Avoid contact with pigs and other farm animals without proper protective gear.
- Prevent infections in the pigs from bats with protection.
- Cremate the infected animals to prevent further spread.
Diagnosis of Virus
There is no visible difference in the initial symptoms of the virus and other diseases, making it hard to detect easily. However, the following tests can detect the presence of the virus in the human body;
- Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) to detect antibodies
- Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with swabs or other fluids from the body.
Treatment of Virus
The virus is fairly new and it hasn’t seen a vaccine yet. Hence only supportive care(rest, hydration) and experimental medicines like Remdesivir could be the saviour.
However, a non-patented drug(M 102.4) developed by Christopher C. Broder, a professor of immunology and microbiology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland could help by then.
Nipah Virus in India
India still holding huge cases of COVID-19 patients, finds it hard to deal with yet another virus. Kerala has seen Nipah Virus infection thrice since 2018 but it’s the worst this time.
After a reported case of death of a 12-year-old boy from the virus, the nation has been on high alert for the virus. This Virus of concern has been reported multiple times in India recently.
Nipah Virus in Nepal
After the news about the Nipah virus, India, Nepal has alerted itself with proper measures to prevent the virus from entering the country. However, Nepal is a high-risk zone as its a habitat for Fruit bats.
Also, the free transit of people between India and Nepal can also be the cause of infection in Nepal. Nipah virus India Nepal link is vulnerable and enveloped in time.