Nipah Virus Alert: 3 Risk Factors to Watch Out For

Nipah Virus Alert: 3 Risk Factors to Watch Out For
Increasing cases of the Nipah virus have created an alarming situation.

There is no specific antiviral treatment for Nipah virus infection. Therefore, supportive care and taking care of the symptoms is essential.

Written by saumya pandey |Updated : September 18, 2023 5:31 PM IST

The unnatural death, uncanny symptoms, and brain-damaging effects of the Nipah virus have made it a more intriguing and intimidating topic. Nipah virus is a bat-borne disease that has created havoc in Kerala recently. The first outbreak of the Nipah virus was recorded in 1998 in Malaysia and Singapore. The virus was named after the village where it was found. It is the fourth outbreak of the Nipah virus in Kerala since 2018. Mass testing is being done to halt the spread of the disease in other districts or other parts of the country but rising cases are still a concern that needs urgent attention. According to the World Health Organization, the virus has a fatality rate between 40-75%. As of now, there's no registered vaccine for the virus or the usual treatment that can cure the disease. Besides, people need to understand the symptoms and severity of the disease so that they can take precautions. Three key risk factors of the virus shouldn't be ignored.

Symptoms of Nipah Virus Infection

Here are 6 signs and symptoms that you may develop after contracting the Nipah virus:

  1. Fever: Nipah virus infection can grow with a high fever.
  2. Headache: Headaches are a common symptom of the Nipah virus.
  3. Fatigue: Patients often experience extreme fatigue and weakness.
  4. Muscle Pain: Muscle pain is another notable symptom.
  5. Respiratory Distress: Respiratory problems can occur, causing breathing difficulties.
  6. Encephalitis: In severe cases, the Nipah virus can lead to encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain.

These are some of the observed symptoms associated with the Nipah virus. Furthermore, there are three potential risk factors:

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Animal Reservoirs

This is one of the most critical things to observe in this case. As Nipah is a zoonotic virus it can be easily transmitted from animals to humans. Fruit bats serve as the natural reservoir of the Nipah virus which means bats serve as a reservoir for the disease and can spread the disease by biting humans. But the bats and other reservoir species may not experience symptoms because of built-in immunity. Contact with these bats, their excretions, or saliva can lead to transmission to humans.

Contaminated Food

This is the second risk factor that needs your attention. Consuming fruits or juices contaminated with bat saliva or urine can result in infection. So always make a hygienic environment for food you eat to protect it from getting in contact with animal's saliva or urine.

Human-To-Human Transmission

Once an individual is infected, the Nipah virus can spread through close contact with infected individuals, particularly in healthcare settings. Hence taking necessary precautions while also practicing social distancing is important.

It is important to consult healthcare experts and relevant organizations for the most up-to-date information on the Nipah virus, especially regarding any developments in treatment or prevention strategies. It is recommended to reach out to health authorities like the World Health Organization (WHO) and local healthcare providers for expert guidance tailored to specific regions. This advice underscores the rapidly evolving nature of infectious diseases like the Nipah virus and the necessity of staying informed and vigilant in the face of such health threats.

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