What are the Best Precautions to Defend the Nipah Virus?

precautions nipah virus

At the early stage, signs and symptoms of Nipah virus infection are nonspecific, and the diagnosis is often not suspected at the time of presentation. Nipah virus infection can be diagnosed with clinical history during the acute and convalescent phase. Till the date, No specific drugs available to cure. so it is better to know the best precaution to defend the Nipah virus.

Nipah virus has been found to zoonotic, i.e. it is spread from animals to humans. The primary carriers of the virus are the fruit bats. From the bats, the germ can be spread to animals like pigs, dogs, etc.

It can spread to humans through animals, other infected people, or through contaminated food. And it can have grave symptoms like acute respiratory illnesses as well as fatal encephalitis, leading up to death in humans. The Nipah virus was first identified between the years 1998 and 1999 in a village in Malaysia (Sungai Nipah) from which its name was derived.

The National Centre for Disease Control in its guidelines states that the NIPAH virus can infect people through various means.

  • The infected bat droppings may affect humans during tree climbing.
  • While eating contaminated fruits.
  • Drinking raw date palm sap or today.
  • While having close contact with an infected individual during daily activities or being treated in the hospital.
  • Being in close contact with a dead body that has died because of the Nipah virus, mostly during the performance of traditional rituals is a cause of infection.

The affected persons suffer from acute respiratory diseases, brain fever, fever with cough, etc. Vomiting, sore throat, dizziness, and neurological signs are other symptoms commonly associated with the disease. In severe cases, however, it may transcend the sufferers into a coma within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

Although Nipah is at present on the list of the priority diseases of WHO for research and development blueprint, there are no specific drugs or vaccines which can be used for curing the disease. There have been certain drugs which have been identified as affecting, and enabling the process of healing the infection, but the results have been mostly inconclusive for human subjects. The drug which has been determined to be a potential cure for Nipah is Rivabrin. However, there exist quite a few cases which have shown that people can survive the disease. Within these cases, 20% have long-lasting neurological symptoms like seizure, personality changes, etc. A smaller number of patients have also experienced a relapse.

Precautions of preventing being a victim of Nipah Virus:

It can be pretty well established that the Nipah virus is very infectious and easily communicable in nature. While at a macro level it has the potential to become a public health issue, at a personal level it is very difficult to prevent the individuals. Thus, through by taking certain steps, it can be avoided.

  • Washing hands with soap after contacting people with infection, or undergoing treatment. Handling of dead bodies which are infected with the virus should be carried out according to the guidelines specified by the health officials. This is because; the human-to-human transmission of the virus is very common. To check this, there is no better way than maintaining a bit of caution.
  • Avoid Touching animals you don’t know as it can also spread through animals. Stray animals can often be carriers of the virus, like pigs or dogs. Making direct contact with such an animal can lead to an infection with the virus. Protective clothing and gloves are the mandatory requirements of handling infected animals, as per WHO.
  • Do not buy fruits which seems to be bitten. The fruit bats often bite certain fruits and infect them. People are therefore supposed to check, whether a fruit looks bitten, wrinkled or damaged in any way. As fruits can be contaminated with saliva or urine of the bats, it is better to wash the fruits thoroughly with hot water before consumption. Freshly collected date palm juice should be boiled before consumption to eliminate chances of infection.
  • Anything kept in open or fermented should be avoided. Especially today which is stored in this manner should be avoided, as it has the highest risk of infection

As already discussed before, the Nipah virus gets transmitted to humans through animals like bats or pigs. The rate of fatality in Nipah Virus case ranges from 40% to 70%. However, the rate can vary based on the local ability to keep strict epidemiological surveillance and clinical management.

WHO(World Health Organization)  provides support and financial assistance to the affected countries and the ones bearing potential risk. Also, they provide an elaborated guide on how to manage and prevent the occurrence and effects of the Nipah Virus. Henceforth, self-awareness and appropriate knowledge of prevention of Nipah Virus can help you to combat the deadly effect of this virus.

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