The Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus, which means that humans and animals can contract it. In the wild, fruit bats, sometimes referred to as flying foxes, serve as the reservoir for NiV. It is also known that the Nipah virus may infect humans and pigs. A NiV infection can result in mild to severe disease, as well as death, and is linked to encephalitis, or brain swelling. Nearly yearly outbreaks take place in several Asian countries, mostly in Bangladesh and India. Avoiding contact with sick pigs and bats in places where the virus is prevalent, as well as avoiding raw date palm sap that may have been contaminated by an infected bat, are two ways to prevent contracting the Nipah virus. In hospital settings, normal infection control procedures can aid in preventing person-to-person transmission during an outbreak.
It is known that the virus can travel from person to human, but it can also spread from animal to human, especially from bats or pigs. Moreover, fruits that have been tainted by bats might potentially spread it. It is advised by health officials that fruits be thoroughly cleaned before consumption.
Fever, headache, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and coma are some of the symptoms of this fatal virus. Sometimes those who get the virus don’t show any symptoms at all. In other circumstances, the affected individuals may have mild to severe respiratory problems. Though extremely rare, it can potentially end in lethal encephalitis.
Since the symptoms of Nipah virus infection are vague in the early stages of the illness, diagnosis might be difficult. Medical practitioners generally utilise the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent test (ELISA) to identify the existence of a Nipah virus infection.
There are currently no medications or vaccinations specifically designed to treat Nipah virus infection. In the WHO Research and Development Blueprint, the World Health Organisation has classified the virus as a priority disease. It is advised to offer intense supportive care as a component of the treatment.
Several vaccines, including an mRNA-based vaccine. One based on a protein from the closely related Hendra virus. And another that uses a harmless vesicular stomatitis virus to deliver a Nipah virus protein. Currently undergoing clinical trials, despite the fact that there are currently no approved human vaccines or treatments for Nipah. About fifty Nipah survivors are being studied by the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh in order to better understand the body’s reaction to the virus and aid in the development of vaccines.
The Nipah virus was discovered in 1999 amid a pandemic that affected Malaysian pig farms. Thankfully, there have been no fresh reports of cases in Malaysia. Another nation where the virus was discovered in 2001 is Bangladesh, where outbreaks have occurred almost regularly ever then.
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