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Let me tell you before hand that I’m no doctor or health expert. I have been reading a lot about this problem in Kerala now a days and that prompted me to write an article with whatever I’ve learnt so far. I’m not going to provide any 100% foolproof method to stay safe because I don’t have any. But being aware of a problem generally helps us stay away from it for longer.

Nipah virus, the latest horror in India, that has already claimed 10 precious lives as of today (22-May-2018) is not something new that’s born now, it existed before, but an out break was very rare. This virus was first identified in 1998 in Malaysia. Then in Bangladesh many were infected by this virus in 2004 after drinking date palm sap, contaminated by infected fruit bats. Yes fruit bats, the innocent looking creatures that come out only at night are the natural hosts of this virus. It infects other animals and human who comes in contact with the contaminated fruits. I have also read that it can spread from the saliva of an infected person/animal.

Not much is known for sure till now about it as it’s not very common. The doctors and experts are still learning about it. Whatever I have learnt from various sources is as given below:

  1. This morning I had learnt that the fatality rate in case of nipah virus, also being called as NiV, is somewhere between 40% to 75%, but recently I read elsewhere that it’s between 75% and 100%. That means it’s incurable.
  2. There have been cases of human to human infection too, but the research is still going on.
  3. It affects the brain, the infected person could go in to coma in just 48 hours of being infected.
  4. The symptoms could be fever, weakness, headache, lethargy.
  5. The nipah virus can mutate like the H1N1 virus.

Previous outbreaks in India:

  1. Siliguri, West Bengal – 2001 – 45 had died out of 66 infected people.
  2. Nadia, West Bengal – 2007 – 5 out of 5 died, 100% fatality rate.

About symptoms I have already written above. There is no specific treatment; intensive supportive care is the primary treatment.

How to stay safe:

  1. Don’t eat raw fruit or vegetables. They may have been contaminated by bat bite or feces.
  2. Stay away from toddy; the container used to collect/make it may have been contaminated by bats.
  3. Infected person must stay in quarantine, so that his/her near and dears and other people do not get infected.
  4. If you’re attending an infected person, stay safe, wear mask and gloves, wash hands with anti-bacterial soap frequently.

Remember the pictures shown on some TV channels during the E-bola outbreak? It’s similar, no cure, just the infection needs to be effectively controlled by quarantine of nipah infected persons and measures for proper disposal of the bodies after death of an infected human or animal, so that the virus don’t spread from the bodies.

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This Post Has One Comment

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    As I read in some news papers today, some biologists argue that bats are not responsible for the Nipah virus outbreak while some others say they are. It’s still a matter of study which is going on.

    However bats have always been there and so is this virus (it lives in bat’s body); so what caused this outbreak or even the ones occured in the past? This question still goes unanswered.

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