September 24, 2023

In some cases, Nipah virus can cause severe respiratory issues

A total of six Nipah virus cases have been reported in Kerala. Out of these six, two people have died and the other four are undergoing treatment. All educational institutions will remain shut on Thursday and Friday in Kozhikode, Kerala.

706 people are on the contact list, of which, 77 are in the high-risk category, while 153 are health workers. Nobody in the high-risk category is showing symptoms currently, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Wednesday.

What is Nipah virus?

Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus which is transmitted from animals to humans. Contaminated food and direct contact with an infected individual can lead to human-to-human spread. It can also cause illness in pigs.

The virus can cause mild to severe illness and even death in some cases. It was first discovered in 1999 following an outbreak in pigs and people.

Symptoms of Nipah virus

Symptoms of Nipah virus can be classified into three categories:

  • Asymptomatic infections
  • Acute respiratory infection
  • Fatal encephalitis

Initially, infected individuals experience fever, headaches, muscle pain, vomiting and sore throat. After these, the infection causes symptoms like dizziness, drowsiness, neurological issues and altered consciousness.

According to the World Health Organisation, some people can also experience severe respiratory issues and atypical pneumonia. In severe cases, encephalitis and seizures can occur, progressing to coma.

Incubation period

The onset of symptoms can start from 4 to 14 days after getting infected. In some cases, the incubation period can also be as long as 45 days.

Treatment for Nipah virus

As per WHO, currently, there is no vaccine against Nipah virus. There are also no specific drugs that are prescribed for treatment.

Researchers are yet to develop a vaccine for Nipah virus.

Nipah virus prevention

During an outbreak, individuals should follow the following preventive steps:

  • Avoid contact with sick pigs and bats
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid foods and drinks that could be contaminated
  • Avoid direct contact with infected individuals
  • Any contact with blood and body fluids of an infected person should be strictly avoided

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has advised people to remain cautious and urged people to remain calm.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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