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What is Nipah virus? How does it spread? Know signs, symptoms, prevention

Nipah virus infection is basically a zoonotic disease and can be transmitted from animals to humans besides it can spread through contaminated food or through contact. Two people have reportedly died after being infected by the Nipah virus in Kerala. The Kerala Health Department has issued an alert in the state about the Nipah virus infection.

What is the Nipah virus?
Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus, meaning it can spread between animals and people. It is a bat-borne virus. It also causes illness in pigs. NiV is associated with encephalitis (swelling of the brain) which can cause mild to severe illness and even death. It was first discovered in 1999 following an outbreak of disease in pigs and people in Malaysia and Singapore, which resulted in 300 human cases and 100 deaths.

How does the Nipah virus spread?
Infected fruit bats can spread the disease to people or animals, such as pigs. Those who come in close contact with an infected animal or its body fluids (such as saliva or urine) can be infected. This initial spread from an animal to a human is called a spillover event.

What are the symptoms of the Nipah virus?
The typical symptoms of the Nipah virus are fever, headache, acute respiratory infection, pain in the muscles and vomiting. The severity of the symptoms varies from patient to patient. Severe symptoms are:

Disorientation, drowsiness, or confusion
Brain swelling (encephalitis)

How can the Nipah virus be prevented?
It can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in areas where the virus is present. Follow these practices:

Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
Stay away from sick pigs or bats.
Prevent going to places where bats are known to roost.
Avoid consuming or consuming products that could be contaminated by bats, such as raw date palm sap, raw fruit, or fruit that has fallen to the ground.
Avoid coming into contact with someone who has been known to have the NiV virus by contact with their blood or body fluids.

Source : DNA India