The Nipah virus (NiV) mostly infects fruit bats, while it can also infect pigs and other animals. Serious symptoms, including death, may result from it. There is no cure for it and no vaccination either. In Asia, notably in Bangladesh and India, it is more prevalent.
The Nipah Virus, better known as NiV, has been making headlines lately. The Nipah Virus, which may infect humans through contact with both sick humans and animals, is the cause of this lethal menace. The worst aspect is that there are persistent rumors on WhatsApp about how to prevent the Nipah Virus.
What is nipah virus?
A zoonotic virus, the nipah virus (NiV) transmits from animals to humans. It can also spread through pigs and other animals including goats, horses, dogs, or cats. It is mostly carried by fruit bats, often known as flying foxes. The virus multiplies when:
- People frequently come into touch with a person who is infected with the nipah virus while providing care for them.
- Foods contaminated by an infected animal are consumed by people.
- The body fluids (blood, excrement, urine, or saliva) of an infected animal come into touch with people or other animals.
The best approach to prevent contracting the nipah virus is to stay away from ill animals, especially bats and pigs, in places where it is known to spread. This includes keeping away from dietary items like raw date palm sap or fruit that an infected animal may contaminate. You should stay away from or take precautions while being close to somebody who has the nipah virus since the illness can transmit from person to person through bodily fluids.
The Nipah virus can result in encephalitis (brain infection), mild to severe symptoms, and even death. There is no cure for it, not even a shot. The only approach to cure nipah virus is to treat its symptoms.
Avoiding infected animals or locations where the nipah virus is known to be spreading as well as using protective gear and sanitizing surfaces are all part of the prevention strategy.
How is the Nipah virus transmitted?
The Nipah virus normally spreads from infected animals to humans through a number of methods, according to the World Health Organization. Directly or indirectly, infected fruit bats can transmit the NiV virus to domestic animals (such as dogs, pigs, cats, goats, and horses) by the consumption of fruit bat-contaminated food (such as raw date palms and date palm sap).
After having direct touch with an infected animal, coming into contact with its bodily fluids—such as saliva, feces, and urine—or eating contaminated food, people may contract the Nipah virus. Then, infected people can transmit the NiV virus to other people directly through human-to-human contact including the exchange of bodily fluids like blood, urine, or respiratory droplets, or indirectly through the consumption of contaminated foods. Families, caregivers of NiV-infected people, and healthcare facilities are the three contexts where person-to-person transmission of NiV occurs most frequently.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that while there haven’t been any more NiV outbreaks in Malaysia or Singapore since 1999, Bangladesh and India have seen yearly outbreaks.
Signs and symptoms does the Nipah virus cause?
Being asymptomatic to having mild or severe respiratory infection symptoms are all possible signs and symptoms of Nipah virus infection. The first non-specific signs and symptoms usually develop 4–14 days following exposure to NiV. The most typical NiV signs and symptoms are a fever, headache, nausea, sore throat, coughing, and trouble breathing. These vague symptoms might be followed by an acute encephalitis phase, or brain swelling. Dizziness, tiredness, convulsions, and altered state of consciousness are characteristic symptoms of acute encephalitis, which can quickly evolve into a coma within 24 to 48 hours.
The majority of patients who survive the acute encephalitis stage make a full recovery, although NiV is thought to be fatal in between 40 and 75 percent of cases. 20% of those who survive acute encephalitis may still experience persistent neurological effects including seizure problems and personality abnormalities. Some people may also have relapses or delayed onset illness, often known as a dormant or latent infection, when symptoms appear months to years after exposure to NiV.
How is Nipah virus diagnosed?
A medical practitioner will normally make a diagnosis of nipah virus infection after carefully examining your symptoms, reviewing your medical history, and performing a physical exam. Early identification and diagnosis of NiV infection can be difficult since the early signs and symptoms of the virus are frequently non-specific. As a result, this may reduce odds of survival and make it difficult to stop the spread of disease. People who have been exposed to places where NiV is prevalent are frequently suspected of having the virus, especially those who have a history of exposure.
NiV can be identified during a severe sickness or after it has subsided. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) can be used to detect the virus during the early stages of NiV infection utilizing blood, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and/or throat and nasal swabs. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent test (ELISA), which can identify antibodies, antigens, and proteins unique to NiV, can be used to confirm past NiV infection during the later stages of NiV infection and after recovery. The accuracy of laboratory findings may be impacted by the kind, number, timeliness, quality, and quantity of samples collected, as well as the time required to transmit samples to the lab.
A lumbar puncture may be performed to collect cerebrospinal fluid samples and test for NiV infection when acute encephalitis is suspected. A CT scan or MRI of the brain can be used to image the brain and help diagnose acute encephalitis.
How is Nipah virus treated?
NiV can only be treated with supportive care, such as rest, hydration, and the treatment of certain symptoms as they arise. Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen, dimenhydrinate, and/or ondansetron are examples of supportive drugs. Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen are also used to treat pain and fevers, manage nausea and vomiting, and treat respiratory problems. To reduce seizures brought on by acute encephalitis and keep neurological symptoms under control, anti-seizure drugs such benzodiazepines, levetiracetam, and/or phenytoin may be administered.
Monoclonal antibody therapies, which are immunotherapeutic treatments, are currently being developed and tested for the treatment of NiV infection even though there are currently no licensed medication treatments for the condition. Clinical studies are being conducted on monoclonal antibody m102.4, which is being applied on an individual basis. Studies on non-human primates following NiV exposure have demonstrated that antiviral medications, such as remdesivir, are efficacious. In the original NiV epidemic, ribavirin was also utilized to treat a small number of patients; however, its effectiveness in treating people is yet unknown.
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Boost your immunity
So how can you naturally defend yourself from it? You may increase your immunity and shield yourself from not only Nipah but also a variety of other viruses with a few simple lifestyle and dietary modifications.
- Practice meditation and get enough sleep to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Boost your vitamin D levels by getting some sun
- Avoid using tobacco and alcohol, which might impair your immune system.
- Always wash produce before consuming.
- Eat healthy and safe fruits and fruit products.
- Make sure to include licorice, papaya, ginger, and garlic in your diet.
- Make it a routine to perform the Surya Namaskar each day to preserve your health.
- Your body must be detoxified in order to improve your immune system.
Nipah virus transmission can also be stopped by infection control techniques. For instance, you should always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for someone who has the nipah virus or is suspected of having it. PPE examples include:
gowns with full covering or isolation that are impervious to body fluids.
- Eye protection such as safety glasses or goggles, medical gloves.
- masks used in medicine or surgery. The type of mask used might change depending on how bad the epidemic is.
A zoonotic virus called the nipah virus (NiV) spreads mostly from animals to people. Infected fruit bats are the NiV animal reservoir in nature. After having direct touch with an infected animal or its bodily fluids, as well as through contaminated food products, people can get infected with the Nipah virus. Then, infected people can pass the NiV onto other people directly through human-to-human contact or indirectly through consuming contaminated food. The most typical NiV symptoms and indicators are fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscular discomfort, coughing, sore throat, and breathing difficulties. A phase of acute encephalitis may come after in severe instances, and this phase may be accompanied by long-term residual neurological effects.
A RT-PCR test may be used to determine the presence of NiV utilizing samples of blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and/or throat and nasal swabs. An ELISA test can be used to verify earlier NiV infection in the later stages of the infection and after recovery. NiV can only be treated with supportive care, which entails rest, water, and the management of particular symptoms as they arise. A number of infection control procedures as well as increased knowledge can help avoid the Nipah virus infection.