WHAT IS VIRUS?
It is a microscopic organism that causes diseases in humans, animals and plants. It consists of nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat and it is capable of multiplying only within the living cells of a host e.g. Influenza, HIV, AIDS, chicken pox, Nipah etc.
Just a few days ago we heard of Nipah virus outbreak in Kozhikode, Kerala which took lives of people. Media was flooded with the news of Nipah Virus. So, what it exactly is?
WHAT IS NIPAH VIRUS?
The Nipah Virus infection is an RNA (ribonucleic acid)virus which has an exceptional rate of mutation. It is an emerging zoonosis (disease transmitted from animals to humans). It belongs to a new genus- Henipavirus (sub family- Paramyxovirinae).
In 2018, it is listed as one of the 10 priority pathogens which need urgent research- WHO.
WHERE AND WHEN WAS NIPAH VIRUS FIRST REPORTED?
It was initially discovered when in 1998 pig farmers at Kampung Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia suffered from the outbreak of brain fever. Hence, it got its name after the name of the village.
In 2001 there was an outbreak in Siliguri, West Bengal and 41 people died by this deadly viral attack and then in 2007, in Nadia, West Bengal where the patient is believed to have acquired the virus from palm liquor which was contaminated by bat droppings.
SO, WHO ALL ARE AT HIGH RISK?
*Farmers working in fields who come in contact with bat.
* Consumption of fruits being bitten by bat.
* Contact with people who are infected by Nipah virus.
*Pig handlers and pork consumers.
SYMPTOMS IN HUMAN:
Encephalitis, brain inflammation marked by a coma state, disorientation, fever, muscle pain, respiratory problem, nausea, vomiting, neck rigidity, photophobia.
DIAGNOSIS OF NIPAH VIRUS:
*Serum Neutralization Test
It is classified as bio-security level (BSL) 4 agent and the test should be carried out in a special labs to prevent its spread.
There are no vaccines as such available for humans and animals. Ribavarin can reduce symptoms of nausea, vomiting which are associated with Nipah. Intensive Care Monitoring is required for the patients. So, infected patients should be hospitalized and kept in isolation. Special care should be taken to prevent transmission to other humans.
HOW TO KEEP OURSELVES SAFE FROM IT?
*Avoid contact with pigs and stop consumption of pork.
*Wash fruits well and boil it before consumption.
*Follow a strict hand wash regimen.
*Use nose mask while travelling in public places.
“PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE SO, BE ALERT, PREVENT THE CHANCES OF BEING AFFECTED BY THE VIRUS AND SPREAD CONSCIOUSNESS”.