Nipah Virus: Here is Everything You Need to Know! A virus is a microscopic organism that can reproduce only inside the cells of a host organism. Most viruses are so tiny they are only seen with a conventional optical microscope. Viruses infect all types of organisms, including plants and animals, as well as bacteria and archaea. Approximately 5000 different viruses have been described in detail at the current time, although it is known that there are millions of distinct types.
What is Nipah Virus?
Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes a severe disease in both animals and humans. This virus was first identified in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998. During that outbreak, nearly 300 people were infected, and more than 100 people died. To stop the outbreak, authorities had to euthanize over one million pigs. Since then, the virus has been identified in outbreaks in Bangladesh and India. The death rate from the Nipah virus is estimated to be about 75%.
Nipah was recorded for the first time in Kerala, in southern India, in May 2018. Nipah is a rare virus spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage. The transmission of Nipah virus to humans occurs when a person comes in direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs or infected people.
The Nipah virus or NiV infection has symptoms like breathing trouble, brain swelling, fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, and delirium. A patient can fall into coma within 48 hours. It travels through direct contact with a patient. Once a person is infected with the virus, symptoms may appear in between 4-14 days and may include the following:
- Muscle pain
- A sore throat
- Brain swelling or fatal encephalitis
There is currently no vaccine. People can take steps to prevent Nipah:
- Avoid exposure to sick pigs and bats
- Avoid drinking raw date palm sap
- Avoid physical contact with infected people
- Wear Masks
- Wash hands regularly
- Avoid unpasteurized fruit juices
- Boil freshly collected date palm juice before consuming
- Thoroughly wash and peel fruits before consuming
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