Nipah Virus – Real or Hoax?
If you’ve heard the news about the Nipah Virus, this message is for you – Please don’t panic.
Here are the facts:
A sudden outbreak of the dreaded Nipah Virus has already claimed upto 10 lives in Kerala.
With the potential of becoming an epidemic (as stated by the WHO), this virus has sent the country into a state of panic.
While the Nipah virus is indeed real, it’s easy to lose track of what is fact and what is fiction in a world where information is as viral as a disease. So if all the news articles and WhatsApp forwards have you worried, here is everything you need to know about the Nipah Virus.
Who carries the virus and who can it affect?
The Nipah, Nypa or Nipa Virus is a zoonotic disease (a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans). Fruit Bats are the natural host of this virus. It can also affect domestic animals such as dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, etc, and can be transmitted to humans who come in close contact with infected animals. Human to human transmission is another common way this virus spreads.
Signs and Symptoms
Nipah Virus is known to cause:
- Encephalitis or inflammation of the brain
- A persistent fever with headache, drowsiness, mental disorientation and confusion
- If left unattended, infected patients might slip into a coma within 24-48 hours.
- Respiratory illness in the early parts of the infection
- Convulsions or Pulmonary signs.
Precautions and Cure
There is no known cure or vaccine for the Nipah virus. This heightens the risk of death if infected. There are certain precautions a person can take to prevent being infected:
- Avoid consuming fruits that have fallen to the ground
- Do not come into contact with poultry if you see certain symptoms of sickness
- Be very careful if you are around infected people
- Be careful while handling items that have been used previously by infected people
If you notice any of the symptoms in yourself or the people around you, take immediate action. The Nipah Virus is quick to spread if left unnoticed. Consult your physician and take CARE.