Q: What is Nipah Virus?
A: Nipah virus was initially discovered when it caused an outbreak of brain fever among pig farmers in Malaysia.
Q: Should I be worried?
A: A little. As it is transmitted from person to person and there is no effective antiviral therapy for this infection.
Q: Who is at high risk? How is it transmitted?
A: 1. People working with pigs and consuming pigs.
- Farmers who come in contact with bats.
- Consuming Fruits which are already bitten by bat.
- Contact with people who already have Nipah virus infection.
Q: What are the early symptoms?
A: The initial presentation is non-specific, characterized by the sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting. Neck rigidity and photo-phobia are also seen.
The disease rapidly progresses, with deterioration in consciousness leading to coma within five to seven days.
Q: How is it diagnosed?
A: The diagnosis is by ELISA which is currently done at National institute of Virology, Pune.
Q: How is it treated?
A: Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment and infected patients may require intensive care monitoring.
THERE IS NO APPROVED SPECIFIC THERAPY FOR THIS INFECTION. So prevention is the only cure!
Q: How do i prevent it?
A: 1. Avoid contact with pigs and pig handlers.
- Maintain personal hygiene and intensive hand washing practices
- Avoid consuming raw fruits, Consume only well cooked, clean, homemade food till the outbreak settles down.
- Preferably use N95 mask while travelling or working in public places to avoid person to person transmission.
- Be aware of the symptoms and report to the doctor immediately for early diagnosis and treatment.
Share this message with all your cared ones,
Together, we can fight and win!
– Dr. Arjun M B, MD
Dr. R.M.L Hospital, New Delhi
(National Nodal Centre for Control of yellow fever and other communicable diseases)