Nipah Virus: Symptoms, Reasons and Precaution from this deadly disease

New Delhi, May 22: As the news of the deadly Nipah virus claiming two more lives come in, a general curiosity is rising among people to know what exactly is the Nipah Virus and what are the symptoms of this disease.
Two more people suspected to be infected by Nipah Virus have died today in Kozhikode Medical College hospital. Both were being treated in the isolation ward. Samples have been sent for tests. Around 12 deaths are believed to be related to Nipah.  

Basic Facts about Nipah Virus:
Nipah induces flu-like symptoms that often lead to encephalitis and coma. Fruit bats are considered the main carrier of the virus for which there is no vaccination, according to the World Health Organization.

Nipah was first identified in Malaysia in 1998. In India the disease was first reported in 2001 and again six years later, with the two outbreaks claiming 50 lives.

What is Nipah Virus:
According to the World Health Organisation, Nipah virus or NiV infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the Nipah virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

Nipah virus is fairly new. The virus was first identified in 1998 in Malaysia and pigs were identified as the intermediate host. It spread to humans after they came in contact with pig feces and excretions. Nipah virus gets it’s name from the village where the virus was first spotted in Malaysia. The virus has been found in species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep after they came in contact with pigs.

Later Nipah virus showed up in Bangladesh in 2004, where humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.

What are the symptoms of Nipah Virus:
Symptoms of Nipah virus range from asymptomatic to fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and death. Officials in Kerala have said mortality rate is 70 percent, as reported in PTI.

In Malaysia where the disease was first spotted, 50 percent of patients who showed symptoms died.

Treatment is focused on managing fever and neurological symptoms and offering full support.

Precaution against Nipah Virus:
According to WHO, there is no vaccine currently available for either humans or animals and NiV-infected patients are currently limited to supportive care. People have also been cautioned that they should not consume fruits that have fallen on to the ground.

News24Bureau with Agencies