Diseases and infections are nowadays prevalent in human civilization. With modernization, we have created a good healthcare industry and faced so many diseases causing viruses and bacterias. One of the classy current examples of that is Covid 19, which has spread worldwide and has affected many.
There are both natural and human-made viruses in the world. Every virus is different in nature and causes harm in different ways. In this article, we will discuss the Nipah virus, and hence our main focus will be on viruses.
What is a Virus?
Usually, a virus is known as a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates itself in an organism’s living cell. All life forms are always at risk of infection by different types of viruses; it doesn’t matter if it is animals, plants, or bacteria. No clear evidence is available related to the origin of the virus. In some research, it is found that viruses may have evolved from plasmids, pieces of DNA that can move between cells.
Various biologists; also consider it a life form, as it carries genetic material and evolves through natural selection, but lacks the key characteristics; necessary for life a cell structure.
How Do Viruses Spread?
They can spread in various ways. One of the most common ways of virus transmission is through disease-bearing organisms called vectors. They are usually transmitted from plant to plant or carried by blood-sucking insects from animals to animals. As you already know, we live with thousands of viruses worldwide; one of them is influenza viruses. These viruses are prevalent and spread by coughing and sneezing, for example, Covid 19.
About Nipah Virus
Nipah virus (NiV) is a bat-borne virus; it is known as Nipah henipavirus in the scientific language. It is known to cause Nipah virus infection in animals and humans. It causes a dangerous disease that comes with a high mortality rate. It has affected most parts of south and Southeast Asia.
Nipah virus was first discovered in 1999 by an outbreak of the disease in people and pigs in Singapore and Malaysia. More than 100 deaths were noted in that outbreak, and more than one million pigs were killed to control the situation. Since then, no known outbreak of it has been recorded in Malaysia and Singapore. But its outbreaks were recorded annually in parts of Asia like in India and Bangladesh. It is also known to spread from person to person, making it a big concern related to a global pandemic.
According to our research, we have found that the animal host reservoir that harbors it is the fruit bat, also known as the flying fox. These bats can transmit it to people or other animals like pigs, cows, etc. Once the animals are infected, people can also get it from their body fluids, for example, urine, saliva, and blood. This transmission of the virus is also known as a spillover event, a situation where the viruses can spread from one species to another. The infection caused by the Nipah virus can be mild to severe, with death occurring in 40 to 70% of the cases.
How Is It Transmitted?
The spread of the Nipah virus (NiV) can happen due to consuming food products contaminated by infected animals’ body fluid; for example, fruit contaminated by infected bats.
It can also be transmitted by the close contact of an infected person or their body fluids like urine, blood, and nasal droplets. The first transmission occurred with infected pigs; when it was transmitted to them from bats. The spread of person-to-person NiV is reported in India and Bangladesh.
Symptoms of NiV
There are both mild and severe symptoms of NiV that include encephalitis, a disease that causes swelling of the brain and can lead to death. The signs and symptoms of NiV appear in 4 to 14 days after exposure to it. The illness from it also causes 3 to 14 days of headache and fever, along with the signs of cough, sore throat, and difficulty in breathing.
With encephalitis, other symptoms also may follow, like disorientation, mental confusion, and drowsiness that progress with coma within 24 to 48 hours. Some other mild and severe symptoms associated with it are mentioned below.
- Brain swelling
Usually, the possibility of death in NiV happens in 40 to 75 % of cases. The survivors of it have been noted with personality changes.
Diagnosis of NiV
It can be diagnosed at the time of illness or after recovery. The diagnosis of NiV can be made by using RT-PCR (Real-time polymerase chain reaction). This is done by using samples of urine, blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and nasal swabs.
After recovering, it can be diagnosed by testing antibodies using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
According to research, it is found that there is no current licensed treatment present for Nipah virus infection. Only limited treatment options available for it, like hydration, rest, and supportive care. Currently, immunotherapeutic treatments are under development for NiV infections.
Some of those treatments like Remedesivir have made their way and stand effective in non-human primates; when it is given as post-exposure prophylaxis. It is used to treat a minimal number of people in Malaysia, but still, its efficacy is unclear.
These are the places where the Nipah virus had spread: India, Singapore, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. As we know, it can spread from person to person, so given below are some points that you should follow to prevent its spread.
- Don’t consume contaminated food like fruits bitten by bats.
- Avoid contact with sick animals like pigs or bats.
- Always wash hands regularly with soap and water.
- Avoid coming in contact with any person or animal; who is infected with NiV.
How to Stay Protected from NiV?
Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus; that can spread between animals and people. The illness caused due to it has already been mentioned above by us. But if you want to keep yourself protected from it, then you require some essential products.
The first thing; that you require for your protection is sanitizer; as it can be transmitted by the body fluid of animals and people, you should always keep your hands clean. Other than sanitizers, you would also require masks to keep yourself and others protected; if you have it.
While using them, you should also learn a fine habit of cleaning your hands; whenever you come from outside. For effective protection at home, you will need a good quality soap or hand wash. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Nipah virus or any other outbreak; you should always follow these infection control practices to prevent person-to-person spread.
The Nipah virus has affected most parts of the world and has proven itself as a dangerous disease. But we have dealt with it efficiently before, and it doesn’t mean that we can withdraw our safety practices and become an open target for it to hit us again.
We should always maintain hygienic habits to avoid the spread of NiV; otherwise, we will be trapped again in its deadly trap. For a hygienic living, you can follow the above-mentioned ways to stay safe. You can get all essential cleaning commodities from your local stores or online since online shopping in Saudi Arabia has been on the rise; after the Covid 19 pandemic had struck. Be aware of the Nipah virus and live a safe and long healthy life ahead.
What is Nipah Virus, and How to Deal with it?
This article about Nipah Virus was written only for informational purposes after intense research on different content sources available on both online and offline mediums. The products mentioned in it do not prevent, treat or cure any disease. If you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then you should follow the given preventive measures in the article and immediately consult with your doctor. Use the mentioned products to keep yourself and your surroundings safe and hygienic.