According to the WHO, the Nipah Virus is one of the emerging diseases which can spread from animals to humans (similar example is of plague). This is highly contagious in form and is deadly in nature. There are currently no vaccines available for the treatment of the disease. Not only does the virus spread from animal to humans, it also transmits from human to human. This sublime nature of the infection makes it deadly.
Fruit bats, abound creatures in the countries of India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, are the primary hosts of the virus.
The first major outbreak was reported in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998. In this case, pigs were the intermediate hosts which transmitted the disease to humans.
The name ‘Nipah’ comes from a village in Malaysia where the virus was first detected.
The Nipah virus is transmitted across individuals and animals in the following two manners.
- The transmission can occur in its primary mode by the direct contact with the fruit bats or an intermediate host. When the fruit bats are lodged inside the fruits, the virus enters the fruits. The fruits are then consumed by humans causing an outbreak of the virus.
- The virus spreads through coughing also. The infection can easily affect people who come in contact with contaminated individuals.
It takes a period of 14 days for the Nipah virus to activate. The symptoms include:
- Irradiating Muscle Pain
- Acute respiratory infection
- Atypical Pneumonia
- Onset of come within 48 hours
There is no known treatment for the curing of Nipah Virus. The treatment offered is based on symptoms. For instance , if the patient shows symptoms of pneumonia, pneumonia specific medicine is administered to the patient. The only thing that can help the patient is intensive support care. A catch here involves the caretaker to be fully precautious having the appropriate mask headgear, gloves and cleanliness while dealing with the patient.
In May 2018, a nurse who was supporting a Nipah Virus infected person, got the infection. This incident sadly lead to her death. The entire country mourned her and respected her bravery and dedication to the profession of healthcare. This shows the benevolent of the healthcare fraternity in treating the patients with minimal self-care.
How can Nipah virus be prevented?
- Consumption of contaminated date palm should be avoided.
- Physical barriers should be made in between the outer atmosphere and the fruit bearing plants in order to stop the infectious fruit bats to interfere with the fruit bearing process.
- Caretakers need to be precautious in all conditions while making sure the patient gets the assured treatment.
- Avoid any direct or indirect contact with infected humans and pigs. Pigs proliferate in unhygienic conditions. Try to keep your surroundings as clean as possible.
- Hospitals should sterilize all equipment and ward rooms where Nipah virus patient had been kept previously to ensure no possible future outbreak.
I hope you take adequate precautions about the same and stay safe from the dreaded virus!
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