The Kerala government has strengthened measures to prevent the spread of Nipah infection after the brain-damaging virus killed two people and infected three others including a health worker in Kozhikode. Here are all the details you need to know about this virus, its symptoms, prevention and treatment:
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a zoonosis (a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals)
➤ NiV is a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, genus Henipavirus
➤ Natural host: Fruit bats
➤ NiV was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore
➤ It gets its name from Sungai Nipah, a Malaysian village where pig farmers became ill with encephalitis
➤ A million pigs were euthanized to stop the outbreak then
➤ In subsequent outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts.In Bangladesh in 2004, humans got infected after consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats
➤ Human-to-human transmission has also been documented

Signs & symptoms
➤ NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
➤ After exposure and an incubation period of 5 to 14 days, illness presents with 3-14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion
➤ These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24 to 48 hours
How it is transmitted
Transmission of NiV to humans may occur after direct contact with infected bats and pigs
Or by consuming fruits eaten by infected bats and birds
Or through contact with other NiV-infected people
➤ There is no vaccine for either humans or animals
➤ The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care

➤ Infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats and by not eating fruits bitten by bats

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