The virus that has surfaced in Kerala with three people of a family losing their lives to the deadly disease, is a newly emerging zoonosis that is caused in both animals and humans. The Union Health Minister has sent a team from National Centre for Disease Control or NCDC to investigate and offer assistance to the local administration.
Causes of Nipah Virus infection
As per WHO, Pigs and Fruit bat being the most common hosts of the deadly virus. In fact, the natural host of the Nipah virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. In 2004, Bangladesh, human got infected by NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. There is no vaccine for humans or animals that can prevent Nipah from spreading.
The Kerala health department has been put on high alert in the wake of the death of three members of a family in the past fortnight due to 'Nipah' virus.
Symptoms Of Nipah Virus infection:
The deadly virus is associated with encephalitis i.e. inflammation of the brain. After being exposed to the virus for 5-14 days, one suffers from severe fever and headaches for at least 3 to 14 days.
Other symptoms include drowsiness, disorientation, and mental confusion. Respiratory illness is also common during the infection.
On extreme cases, the virus can even lead to coma in 24-48 hours and severe exposure to the virus eventually causes death. The death rate among infected people is 74.5 percent.
Treatment of Nipah Virus infection:
Mostly in such patients, treatment is largely managing fever and neurological symptoms. There is no vaccination for its treatment, NiV can be cured only through intensive supportive care.