by Pranav Dasarathi | 02 JUNE 2018
Many social media networks are now spreading the news of patients being infected and the precautions to be taken for Nipah virus. Is it really a major outbreak with no cure? let us know more about it. Here we have Dr Shiva Raj, a Sr consultant physician & Diabetologist from KIMS hospital, who has thrown light on this topic with his invaluable opinion on care and preventive measures to be taken for Nipah virus infection
What is Nipah Virus (NiV) and how is it transmitted?
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonosis that is transmitted from animals to humans. The transmission can occur through infected bats(Natural host) by their bite or indirectly by consuming fruits like mangoes or date palm sap contaminated either through their saliva or urine, close contact with infected pigs(intermediate host) or patients of Nipah virus infection
Is it really fatal? What is the cure for this disease?
The fatality rate is 40-75%
There are currently no vaccine or drugs specific for Nipah virus infection although WHO has identified as a priority disease for the WHO R&D. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care to treat severe respiratory and neurological complications
What are the Signs and symptoms?
Human infections range from asymptomatic infection to Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ADRS) and fatal encephalitis.
The incubation period i.e (the time from the exposure of infection to the development of the symptoms) is 4 to 14 days
Infected people initially develop influenza-like symptoms of
A sore throat
Neurological signs that include acute encephalitis
Any distinct feature to distinguish them from other diseases having such common symptoms?
There is no such distinct feature to identify, however, any person having flu-like symptoms such as cough, cold, headache and fever need to consult a doctor immediately, otherwise there is a risk for the patient to get into coma state and brain problems
How is the NIV diagnosed?
Initial signs and symptoms of Nipah virus are nonspecific and diagnosis is unrecognizable at the time of presentation.
The most primary tests used are time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from bodily fluids and antibody detection via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
Other tests use include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and virus isolation by cell culture.
What suggestions do u give to reduce the risk of infection in people?
In the absence of any proper vaccine, the only way is to educate the people by raising awareness about the ways its transmitted, risk factors and also the measures to be taken to reduce exposure to the Nipah virus
Public health education messages should focus on:
Reducing the risk of bat-to-animal transmission
Reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission
Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission
Do not eat any raw date palm sap
Avoid eating any bitten or open fruits fallen off trees
If you have any open suspicious fruit peel off completely and consume
Should frequently wash your hands
Need to be highly suspicious when there is any respiratory or brain problem
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