The Economic Times daily newspaper is available online now.

    What's Nipah, how does it get transmitted, what are the symptoms? Things you should know about the fatal virus


    Nipah Virus: A healthcare worker in Kerala, India, has been diagnosed with Nipah fever, bringing the total number of cases in the area to five. The Nipah virus is a zoonotic infection that can be transmitted from animals to humans, with bats being the natural host. Symptoms of the virus can range from mild to severe, including acute respiratory syndrome and encephalitis. There is currently no vaccine available, so treatment involves supportive care.

    4 confirmed cases of Nipah in KeralaTIMESOFINDIA.COM
    Nipah virus has been found in the Kozhikode district of Kerala again.
    A 24-year-old healthcare worker in Kozhikode, Kerala, has been diagnosed with Nipah fever, adding to the mounting number of cases. This development comes just a day after four people were proven to be afflicted with the Nipah virus, two of whom tragically died.

    With this recent case, the total count of Nipah patients receiving treatment in the district now stands at three. The other two individuals are the nine-year-old son and the 25-year-old brother-in-law of Mohammedali (47), the index case, who regrettably succumbed to the virus on August 30. The health department has intensified its contact-tracing efforts, with a total of 789 individuals identified as potential contacts.

    What is Nipah Virus?
    Nipah virus (NiV) infection, classified as a zoonosis, can be transmitted from animals to humans. Belonging to the Paramyxoviridae family under the Henipavirus genus, its natural host is the fruit bat. The virus first surfaced in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore, earning its name from Sungai Nipah, a Malaysian village where afflicted pig farmers experienced encephalitis. To curb the outbreak, a million pigs were euthanized. Subsequent incidents in Bangladesh in 2004 saw humans getting infected after consuming date palm sap tainted by infected fruit bats. Importantly, human-to-human transmission has been recorded.

    What are its signs & symptoms?
    Human Nipah virus infection can appear in a variety of ways, ranging from asymptomatic instances to severe illnesses such as acute respiratory syndrome and deadly encephalitis, which involves brain inflammation. Individuals may have fever and headaches lasting 3 to 14 days after exposure and an incubation period of 5 to 14 days. Drowsiness, disorientation, and mental confusion are frequently experienced as a result. This is often followed by drowsiness, disorientation, and mental confusion. In the most severe cases, these symptoms can progress to a coma within 24 to 48 hours.

    How does it get transmitted?

    Transmission of NiV to humans can occur through several routes:

    1. Direct Contact: Humans may contract the virus through direct contact with infected bats and pigs.
    2. Consumption of Contaminated Fruits: Another avenue of transmission is consuming fruits that have been nibbled on by infected bats and birds.
    3. Human-to-Human Contact: Additionally, NiV can be transmitted from person to person.

    What is the course of treatment and what you can do to prevent it?

    Presently, there is no vaccine available for either humans or animals to combat NiV. Therefore, the primary approach to treating human cases involves intensive supportive care.

    In terms of prevention, individuals can safeguard themselves by avoiding contact with sick pigs and bats. Furthermore, it's crucial to refrain from consuming fruits that may have been bitten by bats. These measures play a vital role in reducing the risk of Nipah virus infection.

    In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, police and local authorities have sprung into action. Containment zones have been established in designated wards across nine panchayats. Travel restrictions have been imposed, and barricades have been set up to curb movement. It is notable that the number of containment zones has surged from 43 to 58 as of Wednesday.
    Experience Your Economic Times Newspaper, The Digital Way!
      (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

      Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.

      The Economic Times

      Stories you might be interested in