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All You Need to Know About Nipah Virus - Articles - Nurses Arena Forum

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All You Need to Know About Nipah Virus by katty : May 23, 2018, 10:46:32 AM
The worst disease no one has ever heard of...
 
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats
 
The infection was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore
 
Nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported in that outbreak. In order to stop it, more than a million pigs were euthanised, causing tremendous trade loss for Malaysia
 
Nipah virus infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas and not drinking raw date palm sap
 


Symptom of the infection include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion. These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours
 
“It’s the worst disease no one has ever heard of,” said Dr. Jon Epstein, wildlife veterinarian and epidemiologist for the EcoHealth Alliance.
 
Nipah rarely infects people, but when it does, it can make them very, very sick. “This is a virus that when it gets into people, in Bangladesh, it kills them on average three-quarters of the time and in some cases 100 percent of the time,” Epstein said. It causes encephalitis,a brain inflammation that is often fatal and that can cause long-term disabilities in survivors.
 
In some outbreaks, it has also caused severe respiratory infections, according to the World Health Organization. It can also infect some people without causing any symptoms at all, but it’s almost impossible to know how often that happens.

Source: GoMedii
 
CAN IT COME HERE?
As WHO, the CDC, and other public health agencies love to say, any virus is just a flight away from anywhere in the world. International travel is becoming more common and people can be halfway around the world within hours — quickly enough to get to a new city before they ever show symptoms of an infection.
 
At present, Nipah has been seen in remote areas. But big cities are not far, Epstein noted. Outbreaks in Bangladesh have not been far from Dhaka, the capital. “Dhaka airport connects people to London, to New Delhi,” he said.
 
And although Nipah does not cause epidemics, that could change. “We know there are a variety Nipah virus strains that circulate in these bats,” Epstein said.
 
“Every outbreak is a potential for a new strain to emerge.” Eventually, a strain might emerge that does spread easily from person to person.
 
Image: A date palm sap collector in BangladeshA date palm sap collector in Bangladesh.EcoHealth Alliance
 
IS THERE A CURE?
The only treatment for Nipah at present is supportive care — putting people with respiratory disease onto ventilators and providing fluids while the body recovers.
 
There is no vaccine to prevent Nipah although there is a vaccine to protect horses against Hendra, a related virus that causes outbreaks among horses in Australia. It can also infect dogs and people and killed four people in Australia. WHO has asked researchers to work on a Nipah vaccine and treatments.
 
It is not possible or desirable to kill the bats that can spread Nipah and Hendra, said Epstein.
 
“These are really important animals,” he said. They spread seeds and pollinate flowers. They are responsible for 50 percent of the world’s rain forest,”.
(Source: WHO, NBC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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