Can we nip the Nipah virus in it’s bud?

– Madhura Mandlik

18th May 2018 witnessed the first death of an individual infected by the Nipah Virus. Nipah virus has been creating a havoc in the state of Kerala , causing the death of 10 out of the 13 confirmed cases. What do we know about the Nipah virus ?

  • First outbreak of the NiV was in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malayasia in 1998.
  • It is a RNA virus and is a zoonotic pathogen.
  • It belongs to the Paramyxovidae family.
  • Definitive host is the fruit bat while the intermediate host are animals like pig.

  • Transmission could be from bat-human , pigs- human , human -human.
  • Transmission from domestic animals by contact with infected animals , their excreta and secretions and also through infected fruits .
  • In Siliguri, India, transmission of the virus was also reported within a health-care setting (nosocomial), where 75% of cases occurred among hospital staff or visitors. From 2001 to 2008, around half of reported cases in Bangladesh were due to human-to-human transmission through providing care to infected patients.
  • First case of 3 family members dying after consuming mangoes bitten by infected bats.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Acute respiratory symptoms like cough , cold , fever .
  • Headache , myalgia.
  • May lead to drowsiness and confusion .
  • Pay present as atypical pneumonia and ,dad to acute respiratory distress.
  • Encephalitis with CNS manifestations .
  • Fatality is at 40-75%.
  • 20% survivors have CNS deficits like seizure disorder.


Diagnosis :

  • RT- PCR 

Treatment :

  • Does not have a definitive treatment 
  • Only supportive treatment 
  • No vaccine 
  • Preventive measure are equally important as human to human spread is high 
  • Health care professionals are at a higher risk 
  • Standard infection control protocols should be implemented .

 Where Kerala stands ?

  • An advisory warning has been given by the state of Kerala. They have urged people to a lid traveling to Kozhikode , Malappuram , Waynad and Kannur districts. 
  • Regulatory authorities have increased the checking of food being exported out of Kerala 
  • An expert team of professionals from Institute of Virology , Pune and AImS , Delhi is present is Kerala.

References :

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2 Responses

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