Infectious Diseases

Nipah Virus: Stay Safe from This Deadly Disease

Written by
Dr. Vasantha K S
and medically reviewed by Dr. Velusamy M.p

Published on May 22, 2018 and last reviewed on Jun 05, 2019   -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

This article talks about Nipah Virus (NiV) which, according to World Health Organization has the potential to cause the next big disease outbreak on the lines of the H1N1 virus, Ebola virus, and Zika virus.

Nipah Virus: Stay Safe from This Deadly Disease

An infection due to Nipah virus was first reported in a village called Sungai Nipah in Malaysia in 1998. Hence, it got its name from the location. It is a newly emerging zoonosis, meaning, it spreads from animals to humans. The hosts are fruit bats (Pteropus genus), birds, and domestic animals such as horses and pigs.

Modes of Transmission

It is transmitted to humans:

- who consume fruits contaminated by infected fruit bats,

- who drink raw date palm sap contaminated by infected fruit bats,

- by coming in direct contact with someone with the virus,

- by coming in contact with saliva/urine of a sick animal.

Symptoms

Symptoms start after an incubation period of 5 to 15 days. Symptoms resemble those of flu, respiratory illness, as well as neurological involvement due to inflammation of the brain.

  • Fever.
  • Weakness.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Headache.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Cough.
  • Disorientation.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Coma.
  • Death.

The virus can cause death anywhere between two to seven days of onset of symptoms. And, the mortality rate is approximately 75 %.

Treatment

There is no vaccine found yet for this disease, nor is there any known treatment as of now although research is ongoing. Only supportive care is provided to give relief from the symptoms. This makes taking precautionary measures of paramount importance.

Precautions

  • Drinking raw date palm sap is to be avoided in endemic areas. Also, avoid eating fruits that are half bitten or possibly contaminated by urine or saliva of bats.
  • Healthcare professionals are advised to wear protective masks and gloves when caring for patients.
  • Persons suspected to be carrying the Nipah virus are to be isolated at special wards in hospitals.
  • Avoid making contact with the patient.
  • Doctors, nurses and veterinary doctors are highly susceptible to get this virus from exposure to infected cases and are advised to be alert.
  • The blood samples collected from suspected persons are to be tested in specially designated accredited laboratories to prevent their spread in the community through improper handling of specimens.

Since Nipah virus has the potential for a major outbreak, and treatment protocols are still being formulated, the general public is cautioned to be alert and careful about their health in order to control the transmission of infection at this initial stage itself.

For more information consult an infectious diseases specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/general-medicine-physician/infectious-diseases

Nipah - FAQ


1.

What is Nipah virus?

Nipah virus (NiV) is a type of RNA virus that belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae and genus Henipavirus. It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is transmitted to humans from animals. This virus commonly infects pigs, fruit bats, and rabbits, but they might not show symptoms of this infection

2.

What are the symptoms of Nipah virus infection?

In the early stages, it causes symptoms like a cold and flu like fever, headache, cough, headaches, muscle pain, vomiting, and sore throat. Later, when the neurological system gets involved, the symptoms of encephalitis, like dizziness, confusion, altered consciousness, and coma are seen.

3.

How to prevent Nipah virus infection?

Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent this infection. Few tips to prevent Nipah virus infections are:
- Avoid exposure to infected pigs and bats.
- Avoid drinking raw date palm sap.
- Proper and frequent cleaning and disinfection of pig farms.
- Culling of infected animals.
- Healthcare professionals should wear protective clothing while treating an infected patient.
- Proper burial or incineration of carcasses.
- During an outbreak, animal premises should be quarantined.

4.

How do you get Nipah virus?

Nipah virus is transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected bats, pigs, or other animals. You can also get infected through person-to-person contact or by consuming raw date palm sap or other food items contaminated with the feces of infected animals.

5.

How does the Nipah virus affect the body?

Nipah virus infection can be asymptomatic, meaning, it does not cause any symptoms. Or it can be an acute respiratory infection, and encephalitis, which can be fatal.

6.

Is Nipah virus contagious?

Yes, Nipah virus is a contagious disease as it can spread from direct or close contact

7.

Can Nipah virus infection be cured?

According to WHO (World Health Organization), the fatality rate is 40 to 75%. The survival rate depends on the clinical management capabilities of healthcare professionals. Individuals who survive this disease develop problems like seizures, personality changes, or develop encephalitis.

8.

How long can the Nipah virus survive in the air?

As it a fragile virus, it cannot survive for long outside the host body. It is believed to survive from some hours to a couple of days in the air.

9.

Can the Nipah virus spread through water?

Yes, Nipah virus can spread through contaminated water. Water can get contaminated with feces of infected animals or saliva or other body secretions of an infected human

10.

Can the Nipah virus survive on fruits?

Fruits that have been bitten or contaminated by an infected bat or pig has the virus in them. Consuming such fruits can infect you

11.

How did the Nipah virus originate?

The first outbreak of this disease was noted in 1998 in a village called Sungai Nipah, Malaysia, and the virus was isolated in 1999. It was believed to be transmitted to humans through infected pigs, which led to millions of pigs being killed to stop the spread of the infection

12.

How does the Nipah virus spread?

Nipah virus can spread through:
- Contact with sick pigs or other infected animals and their secretions.
- Eating fruits or fruit products contaminated with urine or saliva of infected fruit bats.
- If you come in contact of nasal or oral secretions from an infected patient.

Last reviewed at:
05 Jun 2019  -  2 min read

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Related Questions & Answers


Can hepatitis C be transferred if the blood is in a dried state?

Query: Hello doctor, Can hepatitis C be transferred if the blood is in a dried state? For example, it dried on a surface and you touch it with another dry object or with dry hands. I understand if you wet the dry blood to clean it up it can transfer but I am talking in a strictly dry state. I was told it ...  Read Full >>


Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. No, once it has dried, virus is not transmitted and cannot spread the disease when it comes in contact with intact skin. Also, with drying, virus gets inactivated. Even in wet state, just contact of blood with intact skin (not mucosa), unlikely to transmit the virus ...  Read Full

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