Nipah Virus (NiV) – One Of The World’s Most Dangerous Emerging Pathogens
Nipah Virus (NiV)
Nipah Virus (NiV) , a new diesease that is transmitted to humans from animals. The natural hosts for this virus are fruit bats, which may infect an intermediary – which could be a plant or an animal, consumption of which spreads the disease among humans.
A virus is a biological agent that reproduces inside the cells of living hosts. When infected by a virus, a host cell is forced to produce thousands of identical copies of the original virus at an extraordinary rate.
The infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
Why the name Nipah ?
The name “Nipah” refers to the place, Kampung Baru Sungai Nipah in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia the source of the human case from which Nipah virus was first isolated.
Nipah virus is one of several viruses identified by WHO as a likely cause of a future epidemic in a new plan developed after the Ebola epidemic for urgent research and development before and during an epidemic toward new diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines.
What does Nipah Virus (NiV) leads to ?
The symptoms start to appear within 3–14 days after exposure. Initial symptoms are fever, headache, drowsiness followed by disorientation and mental confusion. These symptoms can progress into coma as fast as in 24–48 hours. Respiratory illness can also be present during the early part of the illness.
Deaths may happen as brain fever develops at the final stage.
Symptoms also includes breathing trouble, inflammation of the brain, fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation and delirium.
How does it spread ?
- From fruit bats to animals through bites.
- From animals to animals through fluids.
- From bats to humans (if one takes fruits bitten by bats)
- From animals to humans through body fluids.
- From humans to humans through body fluids.
Nipah Virus (NiV) Prevention
Prevention of Nipah virus infection is important since there is no effective treatment for the disease. The infection can be prevented by:-
- Avoiding exposure to bats in endemic areas and sick pigs.
- Drinking of raw palm sap (palm toddy) contaminated by bat excrete. Bats are known to drink toddy that is collected in open containers, and occasionally urinate in it, which makes it contaminated with the virus.
- Eating of fruits partially consumed by bats and using water from wells infested by bats should be avoided.
- Standard infection control practices should be enforced to prevent nosocomial infections.
- Wash hands properly at regular intervals.
- Wear masks and gloves while tending to patients.
1998: Malaysia – Through pigs. Infected 265 and killed 105 people. About 1.1 million pigs had to be culled.
1999: Singapore – Outbreak of encephalitis and pneumonia, 11 people infected.
2001: Silliguri – 45 died from 66 infected reported cases.
2004: Bangladesh – Infected fruit bats via date palm (toddy). Mortality rate exceeded 70%.
2007: Nadia – 5 deaths reported from Nadia, West Bengal.
2018: Calicut – 3-6 deaths reported.