Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans. It was first discovered in 1999 after an outbreak in Malaysia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 1999 outbreak resulted in nearly 300 human cases and more than 100 deaths. This outbreak also affected Singapore. Nipah virus can also transmit through contaminated food or from an infection. It is not an airborne infection but can severely affect humans as well animals. This virus is highly contagious in pigs, states The World Health Organisation (WHO).
Signs and symptoms of Nipah virus
Nipah virus can cause mild to severe symptoms. An infected person may show the following symptoms-
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
Drowsiness, confusion, altered consciousness, coma and neurological signs like acute encephalitis are some of the severe symptoms. The initial symptoms may appear between 4 to 14 days after the infection. In some cases, the incubation period can be as long as 45 days.
How to protect yourself from the Nipah virus?
Currently, there is no vaccine for Nipah virus. It is advised to follow all precautions to limit the spread during a suspected outbreak. WHO recommends these tips to prevent animal-to-human transmission-
Pick fresh fruits carefully. If you are collecting fruits from a farm, any fruit with a sign of bat bites should be discarded.
Wear protective gear like gloves, masks while handling sick animals. Avoid coming in contact with pigs and bats. Do not visit places where bats are known to roost.
In places with a suspected outbreak or positive cases of Nipah virus, avoid close contact with infected people. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water especially meeting someone with symptoms.
"The case fatality rate in Nipah virus is estimated at 40% to 75%. Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions at all times," mentions WHO.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.