Health: How does ‘Nipah Virus’ spread, what are its symptoms and ways to avoid it, know everything here

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah is a zoonotic virus that spreads from animals to humans. However, it can also spread through contaminated food or directly between people. Nipah virus was first detected in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. After that this virus was named Nipah. It is said that at that time the pig farmer was suffering from encephalitis. After which pig was considered to be the carrier of this virus. It was also revealed in Singapore in 1999. It first affects pigs, bats or other creatures. After this, it also infects the humans who come in contact with it. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), virus infection can cause mild to severe illness. The CDC says symptoms often begin with headache and drowsiness, but can progress to a coma within a few days.

What are its symptoms?

Symptoms of Nipah virus usually begin within four to 14 days of exposure to the virus. It is common to develop fever or headache first and later develop respiratory problems like cough and difficulty in breathing.

  • Early symptoms of Nipah virus may include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • difficulty breathing

  • cough and sore throat

  • Diarrhea

  • vomit

  • muscle pain and severe weakness

Its serious symptoms

In severe cases of Nipah virus, a person may develop brain infection (encephalitis), which is life-threatening. Other serious symptoms include:

  • Confusion and disorientation.

  • Indistinct speech.

  • seizures

  • Coma

  • respiratory distress

Researchers are not entirely sure why some people have severe symptoms and others have mild symptoms. Whereas, some people suffering from the virus do not have any symptoms at all.

How does Nipah spread?

Nipah virus spreads through direct contact with bats, pigs or other NiV infected people. The infection is also transmitted through fruit bats or flying foxes, which are natural reservoirs of Hendra and Nepah viruses. This virus is present in the feces, urine and saliva of bats. This virus spreads through respiratory droplets. This means that it can spread through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. The main risk factors for the virus are contact with bats, pigs and humans with known infections, especially in areas with Nipah virus outbreaks. You should take extra precautions to avoid sick animals. Consuming raw date juice or fruit is also a risk factor as bats can leave urine, feces and other fluids on them. Fruit bats are the host of this virus which is highly infectious in nature. This virus is spread to humans through contaminated food, mostly from bats and pigs. It can also spread directly from person to person. In earlier outbreaks in India, the virus was spread by contaminated urine and saliva of bats. Human-to-human transmission of the virus occurs mostly between family members and caregivers.

no medicine available

Till now there is no medicine available against Nipah virus. To prevent this, safety measures should be followed. “If an outbreak is suspected, animal premises should be immediately isolated. Culling of infected animals – with close monitoring of burying or burning of carcasses – may be necessary to reduce the risk of transmission to people Restricting or restricting the movement of animals from infected farms to other areas could reduce the spread of the disease, suggests WHO.

how to avoid

  • Wash your hands frequently.

  • Avoid contact with sick pigs or bats.

  • Clean and disinfect pig farms. Animals with the virus should go into quarantine immediately.

  • Avoid trees or bushes where bats are known to rest or sleep.

  • Avoid eating or drinking things that may be contaminated, such as palm juice or fruit. If you collect palm sap, boil it first.

  • Wash and peel all fruits before eating.

  • Throw away any fruit that has been bitten by bats or has touched the ground.

  • Avoid contact with saliva, blood or other bodily fluids of a person suffering from the virus.