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Nipah Virus


A boy infected with the Nipah virus has died in Kerala, a state already hit badly by Covid-19

About Nipah Virus(NiV) (Scientific name-Nipah henipavirus)

  • It is a type of RNA zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.
  • It is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae.
  • Given that NiV is genetically related to Hendra virus, another henipavirus known to be carried by bats.

Host

  • The animal host reservoir for NiV is the fruit bat (genus Pteropus), also known as the flying fox.

Transmission

  • Direct contact with infected animals, such as bats or pigs, or their body fluids (such as blood, urine or saliva)
  • Consuming food products that have been contaminated by body fluids of infected animals (such as palm sap or fruit contaminated by an infected bat)
  • Close contact with a person infected with NiV or their body fluids (including nasal or respiratory droplets, urine, or blood)

Symptoms

  • In infected people, it causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis.
  • The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers.

Diagnosis

  • Nipah virus infection can be diagnosed with clinical history during the acute and convalescent phase of the disease.
  • The main tests used are real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from bodily fluids and antibody detection via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
  • Other tests used include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, and virus isolation by cell culture.

Treatment

  • There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for Nipah virus infection although WHO has identified Nipah as a priority disease for the WHO Research and Development Blueprint.
  • Intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.

Outbreak

  • Nipah virus was first recognized in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in, Malaysia. No new outbreaks have been reported in Malaysia since 1999.
  • It was also recognized in Bangladesh in 2001, and nearly annual outbreaks have occurred in that country since.
  • The disease has also been identified periodically in eastern India.