The death of a 12-year-old in Kozhikode has led to a Nipah scare. While health authorities are taking all measures to nip it in the bud, here’s what we all should know about the infection.
What is Nipah virus?
Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic illness that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It was first identified in 1998 during an outbreak in Malaysia. The death rate for Nipha virus is 70 per cent.
It is not likely to spread like Covid-19 as it is not an airborne infection. The virus can be transmitted from animals (bats or pigs), or contaminated foods, and from close contact with infected person’s body fluids.
Fever, respiratory symptoms including cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue and encephalitis.
There is no vaccine against Nipah virus. Only available treatment is supportive cough care. Ribavirin, an antiviral drug, was used to and encephalitis treat patient in 2018. M. 102.4-a human monoclonal antibody for which clinical trials are still going on—will be imported from Australia. State health minister said ICMR has promised to get fresh stocks within seven days.
To avoid catching Nipah virus, do not consume fruits that have fallen on to the ground. Other preventive measures including not coming in close contact with infected people.