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Nipah Virus: The Apocalypse Of A Catastrophe

Nipah virus (NiV) is a coming of age zoonosis that causes severe dangerous diseases irrespective of humans and animals. The virus is predominantly found in fruit bats of Pterotype Family, Pteropus genus.

NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in the year 1998. As of 2018, this virus infection has claimed around 1000 human lives and as for animals no one is quite sure about it.

In 2004, in Bangladesh, humans were detected infected with NiV, which resulted from consumption of Date Palm sap contaminated by already infected fruit bats.

Even after being detected back in 1998, till date in 2018, no vaccine or specific treatment could be made available to stop the disease. This does not mean science has failed, it just will take some more time and research work to come up with an anti dote or treatment for the infection.

Since, there is no treatment available currently, precautionary measures become all the more important. These small precautions will help prevention of the infection.

Some of the precautionary measures include:

pic courtesy: marksbooster
Avoiding exposure to bats and sick pigs

Avoiding consumption of raw date palm sap

Signs & Symptoms Of Nipah Virus Infection

Within a period of 3 to 14 days, the first signs and symptoms of the infection start showing up. In some cases, this period might also get extended as NO SIGN is observed.

The initial symptoms of the infection include Fever, Headache, Drowsiness which is then succeeded by mental confusion and disorientation. In most of the cases, it has been observed that these initial symptoms progress into Coma within 24 to 48 hours.

Encephalitis or inflammation of the brain is one fatal complication that arises as a result of NiV infection. During the early phase of the disease, the patient might also face Respiratory problems.


The laboratory diagnosis of Nipah virus infection is made using Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, better known as RT – PCR from  throat swabs, cerebrospinal fluid, urine and blood analysis.

Presently, there is no effective treatment available for Nipah virus infection. Hence, it is limited to Supportive care by hospital staff meanwhile protecting themselves too. There are some set standard infection control measures and proper barrier nursing techniques which when followed appropriately helps prevent transmission of the infection. In the darkness of any proper treatment  or vaccine for the infection, it becomes very crucial to spread awareness and a good surveillance to prevent any future outbreak of such a calamity. All suspected cases of Nipah Virus infection should be kept separately from other patients to avoid transmitting the disease and the patient should be given intensive supportive care.

Nipah virus infection has claimed around thousands of human lives and if we still ignore these small precautionary steps to avoid it, this infection will ruin many more lives. Currently, Indian doctors and scientists are taking foreign help to find an antidote to this infection and in the mean time, all they expect the citizens to do is follow the preventive measures properly and spread awareness amongst people.

Written by
Ruchika Mertia

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