Know what is Nipah virus

Srinagar

Nipah virus infection is an emerging Zoonosis that causes severe disease in both humans and animals.

The natural host of the virus is fruit bats. The virus was first identified in Malaysia and Singapore in 1999, during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers.

Transmission

Consuming fruits which are already bitten by infected bats and contaminated by the body fluids of the infected bats, being direct contact with indirect pigs, contact with people already have Nipah virus infection and consumption of raw dates palm sap contaminated with infectious bat excretions.

Diagnosis

Laboratory diagnosis of a patient with a clinical history of Nipah virus infection can be made during the acute and convalescent phases of diseases by using a combination of tests, Virus isolation, Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from throat and nasal swabs, cerebrospinal fluid urine, and blood can be performed in the early stages of disease, while antibody detection by ELISA (lgG and lgM) can be used later on.

Prevention

Nipah virus infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas and not drinking raw date palm sap.

Signs and symptoms

Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Fainting, symptoms may last for 10 to 12 days, then infected may fall unconscious, death may happen as brain fever encephalitis and it develops at the final stage.

Treatment

Treatment is limited to supportive care because Nipah virus encephalitis can be transmitted person to person, standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are important in preventing hospital required infections.

The information was shared by the Virology Division, Department of Microbiology, Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar.

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