Nipah Virus – Symptoms and Precautions
The recent outbreak of NiV (Nipah Virus) is worrisome. It is vital to know its facts, signs, and precautions. Until now parents would have been bombarded with messages which are only adding to their agony, as isolating fact from fiction sometimes gets difficult. We don’t say we are giving you full – proof information, but we will provide a layman’s version of this disease.
The deadly NiV has the potential to wreak havoc in your body. The complications range from acute respiratory syndrome to the fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
The World Health Organisation says Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonotic pathogen, one that gets transmitted from animals to humans. The virus can cause severe damage in animals and humans. The natural host of this virus is fruit bat of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
Humans are reported to contract the Nipah Virus on coming in direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or from other NiV infected individuals.
The Nipah Virus appeared to have been transmitted initially from bats to pigs, and thereon incidental human infections resulted after exposure to infected pigs. The primary agent of transmission of the disease is direct exposure to infected bats. Consuming raw date palm sap contaminated with infectious bat excretions is a typical mode of transmission.
Signs and Symptoms
Research designates Nipah Virus to be an airborne transmission infection (infection spread through the air). It can affect humans coming in direct contact with people who already have the disease.
The early signs of the virus cannot be recognised with clarity and can be confused with viral fever and the common cold. The actual and prominent symptoms can take 4 to 14 days to surface. Some of the common signs and symptoms of NiV include a headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and mental confusion. Respiratory illness is also a probable sign in the early stages of the infection.
The virus primarily results in the inflammation of the brain. Continuous fever for several days can lead to a state of confusion, perpetual drowsiness, and disorientation. In severe cases, the infection can even result in a coma within a span of 24 to 48 hours.
The Nipah Virus is believed to be fatal in 40 to 100 percent cases of infection. Patients show fluctuations in signs ranging from neurological to respiratory to pulmonary disorders. Therefore, one must not ignore any such symptoms in the body.
Prevention and Cure
Let’s have a look at some of the preventive measures.
- Stay away from consuming date palm because drinking raw date palm sap bitten by a bat is a definite causal agent.
- Domestic animals could also be possible carriers of the virus if they consume fruits partially eaten and dropped by fruit bats. So, it is advisable to keep them indoors.
- Avoid climbing trees where there is a possibility of coming in contact with residual bat saliva or secretions.
- Wash hands regularly with soap.
- Clean fruits thoroughly and peel them before consumption.
- Avoid drinking unpasteurised fruit juices.
- Avoid direct contact with infected pigs, bats, and humans.
- Do not share food, bed, or washroom with an infected person. Take special care while such an individual is coughing or sneezing. Traces of NiV are present in the saliva, urine, and throat swabs of patients.
The deadly bat bug is known to manifest itself in infected people for many days, which makes its diagnosis tricky. It lies dormant and suddenly poses fatal complications.
It may be prudent to take the necessary precautions and keep a lookout for influenza-like symptoms. When the cure is arduous, prevention is the best remedy!