What is Nipah Virus ?
Nipah virus ( NIV ) infection is a zoonotic disease that cause severe disease in both animals and humans.
Fruit Bats, also called as Flying Foxes of the Pteropodidae family, are the natural host of the virus. While Pigs, horses are the subsidiary host.
Nipah Virus was first identified during an outbreak in a small village named Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. And therefore it was named as “Nipah Virus”.
Later in 2004, NIV outbreak in Bangladesh. Humans became infected with NIV as a result of consuming dates and palms contaminated by fruit bats.
How does NIV get transmitted ?
NIV is present in the urine of Bats, potentially Bat faeces saliva, sweat and birthing fluids.
Whenever the sweat, saliva come in contact with the fruit bats, the fruits on tree gets infected.
The same was happened in Malaysia. The farmers were the first to become the victim of NIV. This virus is found mostly in the densed forest where Bats are found in numbers.
The farmers got infected with NIV and later it transmitted from human to human. Yes, NIV is contagious disease. It can be easily transmitted from one corner to another.
Symptoms of Nipah Virus :
Typically the syndromes are marked by——
Shortness of breathe
During the outbreak in Malaysia, upto 50% of clinically apparent human cases died.
There is no vaccine for the virus yet, says the World Health Organisation. The main treatment for those infected is “intensive supportive care”, according to the UN health body.
How to take precaution ?
People had been asked not to drink date palm sap and toddy, which could be contaminated with bat saliva. They were also advised to not pick up fruits from the ground and fruits that might have been bitten.
Current picture of NIV :
The first casualties of the Nipah virus were reported from Changaroth panchayat in Kozhikode district in north Kerala.
So far, 12 people in northern Kerala have succumbed to the virus, for which there is no vaccination or cure while 19 are kept under treatment.
The samples sent to Bhopal lab included those samples taken from bats found in the house of the Kerala family, which is believed to be the epicenter of the disease. Officials found “many dead bats” in a well in that home.
The family was treated by Nurse Lini Puthussery, who also died on last week and left a heart-breaking note for her husband, which said “take care of our children”.
The health body, however, has not issued any specific advice to countries that have not been affected by the Nipah but has asked them to enhance the level of preparedness. The United Arab Emirates has asked its citizens to put off unnecessary travel to Kerala.
When the Nipah virus was identified as the cause of the unexplained consecutive deaths of siblings and their family members in Changaroth panchayat and the healthcare workers, the Kozhikode district collector has postponed exams, banned public gatherings and meetings, and ordered the closure of anganwadis and tuition classes, among others, till May 31.
The atmosphere in the state is more or less calm, people outside the state view it as a crisis, he adds. But the silver lining is that the government has acted very quickly, with no attempts to brush the issue under the carpet. “The message is that the state is not prioritising business over health.”