Nipah Virus, a fatal virus, has claimed the lives of nine people in Kerala. The government has provided 20 millions in emergency funds to the Kozhikode Medical College to control the outbreak and serve the patients. A multi-disciplinary team from National Centre for Disease Control has also been sent to Kerala to manage the disease and prevent it from spreading. Nipah disease, according to the World Health Organization, is a “newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans”. The disease is borne through the fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus (fruit-eating species).
The Nipah Virus outbreak occurred in Kampung Sungai Nipah in 1998 and pigs were the causes of the infection. However, doctors have since then stated that the disease doesn’t need an intermediate host.
How does it spread?
It can spread through direct contacts with the infected bat, the infected pigs or through contact with people who are suffering from the disease.
- The disease causes encephalitis, also known as inflammation of Brain. The incubation period is from 3-14 days, while the infected person experiences headache and fever after that.
- Fever, headache, dizziness and vomiting, drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion are the symptoms that are associated with the disease.
- People may also experience decreased level of consciousness and brain dysfunction. Some people also suffer from respiratory illness and others might also display pulmonary signs too.
There is no immediate vaccine for the disease, but people are advised not to consume fruits picked from the ground, and to wash them before they plan to eat purchased fruits. Not to come into contacts with infected people in any way and contact doctors if you experience any of the symptoms.