What is it?
The Nipah virus is one of the many human infecting viruses which is transmitted by an animal. It is also termed as NiV & uses an animal as the host or carrier while human being the victim. The host was discovered to be fruit bats & pigs in which the virus stays dormant. By following the right precautions one can be safe from being infected. To know how, let’s first know more about the disease.
The first case of the infection reported to be around 1998 in Malaysia, it was around 2001 when it claimed the lives of more than 50 people in Bangladesh. The most recent incident was way back 2006 in parts of West Bengal which was successfully contained. While the current incident at a small district in Kerala has left around 14 people dead & few more being treated. The sudden outbreak from a place thousands of kilometers away from the previous affected areas has had everyone from the WHO to the national & state health departments baffled.
How does it spread?
On careful understanding of how the virus ends up in contact with humans may answer the question. The disease is water or liquid borne & the major carrier being fruit bats, consumption of fruits bitten by them may have caused the transfer. Fruit bats are known to bite fruits & also drink the date palm sap & they contaminate them through their saliva or excrements. Nipah virus being transmitted by bodily fluids infects the humans who consume the contaminated fruits & palm sap. Another possible transmission is through pigs, so consumption of pork & contact with pigs needs to be prevented wholly. While these two animals are suspected to be host, a final confirmation is yet to be found. We can also get infected by coming in contact with bodily fluids of an already affected victim.
The symptoms experienced if infected are?
The symptoms on infections are not unique & specific to the virus but rather invokes those which are common to other disease specific. Firstly the symptoms start to show up only about 2 to 14 days after infection with ailments like:
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
- Muscle or body pain
- respiratory illnesses at the start.
But as the virus spreads through the body, serious effects starts to affect the whole body finally leading to head inflammation, brain fever & coma leading eventually to death.
How can it be treated?
The health risk is serious mainly because there is no effective vaccine formulated to prevent infection or treat the infected patient. The only treatment for the infected person is to put them in intensive support care & treat them for the symptoms faced which may differ from patient to patient.
What are the most important steps to prevent infection?
Disease transmission can be prevented by first preventing the consumption of fruits that are not intact & the palm sap completely.Also transmission from human to human is minimal as it is not an airborne disease but one can still get infected by coming in contact with bodily fluids of an already affected victim. So close contact with an infected person is highly not recommended.
Precautions that we can take ?
Firstly maintain proper hygiene.
Keep yourself & your surroundings clean.
Wash all the fruits, vegetables & any items before consumption.
Try to boil the water or filter it before drinking.
Avoid eating pork, sheep unless properly cleaned & cooked.
Keep your pets safe from dirt & slush.
Dispose your garbage on a daily basis.
Avoid eating outside, especially in unclean places.
We hope that you are aware of this infection & wish that you take all the precautions sincerely.