Nipah Virus Outbreak
Nipah Virus – what is Nipah Virus?
The Nipah virus is a highly contagious and deadly virus. It was first identified in 1999 when pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore became very sick. Nearly 300 people were infected, and more than 100 people died in that outbreak.
To stop the outbreak, the authorities had to euthanize one million pigs. The virus has been identified in Bangladesh and India. The death rate from the Nipah virus is estimated to be about 75%.
The virus is transmitted to humans with direct contact with infected animals, like fruit bats or pigs. It can also spread between human to human, often between family and caregivers of people who are infected.
The outbreak is taking place in Kerala. So far, 10 deaths have been reported, and there are currently nine other people who have tested positive for the virus and are quarantined.
Nipah Virus was first found in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals such as dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
The Nipah virus disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus-a natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses. The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
The first incidence of Nipah virus infection occurred when pigs in Malaysian farms came in contact with the bats who had lost their habitats due to deforestation.
Nipah Virus is a zoonotic disease, was known to affect humans after coming in direct contact with the excretions or secretions of infected pigs. Reports from outbreaks in Bangladesh suggest transmission from bats in the process of drinking raw palm sap contaminated with bat excrement or climbing trees coated in the same
In India and Bangladesh, there is a possiblity of human-to-human transmission of the disease. Therefore, the necessary precautions has to be taken for the hospital workers in charge of taking care of the infected patients.
Proper Precautions should also be taken when submitting and handling laboratory samples, as well as in slaughterhouses.