What are Nipah Virus Symptoms? Let’s talk about Nipah virus today, news of which we are hearing from Kerala.
Transcript: Welcome to Dr.Welling Health Show. Let us talk about Nipah virus today, news of which we are hearing from Kerala.
So unlike last year when The National Centre for Disease Control has issued a high alert across the country after an outbreak of the Nipah virus (NiV) infection in Kerala, this year there is no such warning as yet. The virus has infected a few people in the southern state over the past few weeks, but the exact number is not yet confirmed. The first Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala was reported last year. A total of 17 people lost their life due to the infection while 18 others were also infected.
What is the Nipah Virus infection?
The infection causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats. The virus has also been isolated from environmental samples of bat urine and partially eaten fruits in Malaysia. Transmission of Nipah virus to humans may occur after direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs or from other people infected with the virus.
Previous outbreaks have been reported in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos and Malaysia. NiV was first identified during an outbreak of the disease in a place called Nipah in Malaysia, in 1998. On this occasion, pigs were the intermediate hosts. However, in subsequent Nipah virus outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans were infected with Nipah virus after consuming date palm sap or toddy that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.
Bats shed the virus in their excretions and secretions, but they are symptomless carriers. NiV is highly contagious among pigs and is spread by coughing.
NiV infection in humans has a range of health symptoms, from no symptoms at all to acute respiratory distress syndrome and brain fever that can cause death. People infected with Nipah virus may suffer from brain fever; fever with persistent cough and difficulty in breathing, acute respiratory infection (mild or severe); influenza-like symptoms — fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, sore throat, dizziness, drowsiness and neurological signs indicating encephalitis. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.
The primary treatment is intensive supportive care. Treatment is focused on managing the fever and other symptoms especially neurological symptoms. Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and convulsions can be present. You can also visit a local Homeopath to get evaluation and treatment
As conventional treatment is limited, the focus should be on prevention. Strategies include preventing farm animals from eating fruit contaminated by bats and avoiding consumption of contaminated date palm sap or toddy. Healthcare workers caring for patients should put in place standard precautions including washing hands. Wearing a gown, mask, cap, and gloves are also recommended.
That’s all in today’s episode, See you in the next episode. Bye and take care.