Twelve people in Kerala have died after being infected by the Nipah Virus, it is an emerging disease which is spread by fruit bats – Pteropus genus of Pteropodidae Family. Here’s what you should know about the Nipah Virus.
What is the Nipah Virus?
The Nipah Virus is a highly contagious and deadly virus. The virus was first identified in 1999 by pig farmers in Malasia and Singapore when the farmers become very sick. During that time nearly 300 people were infected and more than 100 people died. To stop this occurrence authority had killed over one million pigs. The Nipah Virus has also been identified in Bangladesh and India. According to the reports, Nipah Virus now occurs in Bangladesh almost every year and there have been several cases in India existing now. The death rate from the Nipah Virus is estimated to be about 75%.
How does the Virus spread:
The virus is spread to humans who have any direct contact with infected animals like fruits bats or pigs. The virus is present in the urine and possibly also in saliva and birthing fluids of bats. It can also spread among humans – in the family and the person taking care of the infected person.
The current outbreak in India
Currently, the infection is taking place in Kerala, so far 12 died due to the infection according to the reports. Another nine people have also tested positive for the virus. Many people who came into the contact with the infected are also under surveillance. Even expert speculates that running occurrence was initially spread by bats.
Symptoms of the Nipah infection
If a person is infected with the Nipah virus, they experience encephalitic syndrome marked by the fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion. It is also possible for the symptoms to progress to a coma within a span of 24-48 hours. The symptoms can also last for 7-10 days. Keep a watch on the respiratory-related issues you may face.
Prevention of the Nipah infection
While there is no vaccine available for the prevention of the infection to spread as of now, extreme supportive care is the only help. Visit a doctor immediately if you encounter any of the above symptoms. Keep the infected person hydrated. Avoid drinking raw date palm sap which contains excretions from the infected bats. Also, avoid eating fruits that have fallen from the trees. Avoid coming in direct contact with infected humans and bats & pigs in the infected regions.
Precautions: If a person is diagnosed with Nipah Virus NiV you should take basic precautions like washing hands, using cap mask and wearing gloves and stay hydrated.