Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans). It can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people. Incubation Period varies from 4-21 days. Probably, A range of illnesses from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis can be seen in Nipa Infected people.
Origin of Disease is still a question in Kerala. But generally, this virus is spread from bats and animals like pigs.
- Large Fruit bats:- Such Bats, belonging to Pteropus Genus are the natural reservoir of NiV
- Pigs:- probably after consuming those partially bat-eaten fruits, animals like pigs may also become infected
Transmission To Humans
- By coming into contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or from other Nipah-infected people. This contact includes eating of partially bat-eaten fruits and drinking water from wells, where such infected bats are living.
- It can be transmitted by drinking Toddy like drinks. The virus can enter humans from such raw date palm sap contaminated with NiV.S
Generally symptoms would show up in 5 to 14 days of infection.
- First of all, it will start as a normal fever. Symptoms of normal fever such as fever, cough, headache, muscle pain etc.. are seen here in the initial stage
- But along with those symptoms, there will be altered mental status, severe weakness, respiratory distress, vomiting, convulsion, diarrhoea in the initial stages.
- Later on, this infected virus becomes deadly as in infected people it will cause severe illness. Furthermore, This Virus leads to Encephalitis (Inflammation of the Brain) and other severe respiratory diseases.
Immunity of individuals differs. The case-fatality rate is estimated at 40-75%. But it seems like, this can vary between outbreaks and can be up to 100%
Along with a clinical history of NiV, Laboratory diagnosis of a patient can be made during acute and convalescent phases of the disease. A Combination of tests will be used here.
- Viral Isolation
- RT-PCR ( Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction)
- ELISA Test (Antibody detection)
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
The Virus easily spreads through bats and their excreta.
- During this season there will be fruits bitten by birds and bats. For the reason that such fruits, which are partially consumed by bats/birds should be avoided
- Avoid fruits, that are doubted to be infected
- Drinks like Toddy, which is collected from places having a large number of bats should be avoided
Above all, the disease can be spread from one person or organism to another, typically by direct contact. Therefore;
- The Infected Individual should be Quarantined
- Above all, Absolute General Hygiene should be maintatined. After the contact with a sick patient, it is recommended to wash the hands thoroughly with soap, for atleast 20 seconds.
- Wash and maintain the dress and other materials of the infected individual separately.
- 0471-255 2056 or 1056:- Call 24 x7 Health Department Helpline DISHA(tollfree), For assistance, or to speak to a health expert or official.
- 1077:- Ernakulam Control Room
- 100:- To Seek Support from Police.
Certainly, there is no need to be panic this time. Government and People are ready to face it. However, we will again overcome it. In other words, we can define Nipah like this, Nipah:- We fought it once and won. We will do it again, together.