A (not-so-new) virus which had hit Kerala a year back has hit our country once again and no, this is not something one should be taking lightly.
Nipah Virus (NiV), which had killed 17 people last year in Kerala has been detected again in a 23-year-old student in Kerela. So here's everything you need to know about this virus which is spreading rapidly.
What is Nipah Virus?
According to the World Health Organisation, Nipah virus is a Zoonotic virus which can be transmitted from animals to humans or could be transmitted directly through food or people. In general, this virus affects animals like pigs, dogs, horses, among others. This virus is a deadly one it causes severe diseases i.e. Pneumonia and can ultimately lead to death.
How is Nipah Virus spread amongst humans?
It is a contagious disease. Nipah virus is easily transmitted amongst humans if they come in close contact with people infected through their secretions or excretions. This is not transferred by air. This can also be caused if they come in direct contact with a pig or a bat or consume them.
What are the symptoms of Nipah virus?
The symptoms initially start with minor signs like fever, headache, muscle ache, sore throat, vomiting. Then leads to dizziness and acute respiratory syndrome or atypical pneumonia.
Reportedly, it also causes Encephalitis which may follow with drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, altered consciousness, and seizures. These symptoms can emerge in 24-48 hours, which results in coma, leading to death eventually.
How is Nipah Virus different from Swine Flue and Bird Flu?
Swine flu is a disease caused by pigs. It is a respiratory disease which is caused by Influenza A virus.
This flu is generally caused by birds but can get transferred to humans by consumption as well.
The main difference between Nipah, Bird and Swine flu is that while the bird and swine flu is treatable through medication, there is no treatment for the Nipah virus.
What is the treatment for Nipah Virus?
According to WHO, there is no cure or vaccine for the virus as of now. They have mentioned that the drug Ribavirin has shown to be effective against Nipah viruses in the laboratory. However, "human investigations have been inconclusive and the clinical usefulness of Ribavirin remains uncertain".
Approximately 20 percent of patients are left with residual neurological consequences such as seizure disorder and personality changes. A small number of people, suffer a relapse or develop delayed-onset encephalitis, after showing signs of recovery.
People who have survived Encephalitis completely are said to have survived this virus, according to WHO. But this could also lead to long term neurological disease.
So if there's anything you could do to minimize the effects of Nipah as much as possible, hygiene is something which should not take a back seat.