|Posted by Naveen Kini on June 5, 2018 at 1:20 PM|
Nipah virus infection is a new disease that is causing fear and panic in our country, and along with it has come the usual chain of misconceptions, and useless remedies. Here are the up-to-date facts about the disease, and the preventive measures that are recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans) and can be transmitted through:
NiV was first identified during an outbreak that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998 (and hence the name). The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
Signs and symptoms
Human infections range from infection with no symptoms, acute respiratory infection (mild or severe), to fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Initial signs and symptoms of Nipah virus infection are nonspecific, and the diagnosis is often not suspected at the time of presentation. The main diagnostic tests used are:
There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for Nipah virus infection. Intensive supportive (ICU) care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.
I would like to reiterate that none of the concoctions that you read about on social media will have any role in prevention of this illness. Till medications and vaccinations are available, resorting to the above measures, and not giving in to rumours and panic, will help us doctors and the government bring this disease under control.
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