The attention of health authorities in India and the rest of the world is on a new outbreak of Nipah virus (NiV). The pathogen’s epidemic potential prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to include it in the priority research and development plan for diseases with the possibility of a pandemic. The world’s highest health authority also includes Ebola, Zika and Covid-19 in the initiative.
The infectious microorganism is not new. On Indian territory, the current outbreak is the fourth recorded in the last five years. Authorities in this region have suspended operations of all schools in seven villages in Kozhikode district in the southern state of Kerala amid the health emergency that began last month and claimed at least two lives. Work in offices and the use of public transport were also reduced by decree. The Indian healthcare sector maintains an extensive testing program to stop the spread of the virus.
The Oz virus was discovered in the Asian country in 2018 and has been monitored by authorities since then
The first Nipah epidemic was recorded in Malaysia in 1999. On that occasion, the virus claimed the lives of 100 people, most of them pig farmers. Containing the outbreak meant the sacrifice of more than a million pigs. The virus spread to Singapore among factory workers who came into contact with pigs imported from Malaysia. The remainder totaled 11 cases and one death.
The disease became a constant in Bangladesh and India. The first epidemics were recorded in both countries in 2001. Since then, more than 100 deaths have been recorded in the Bangladeshi country. Nipah cases are rare. Despite it, The WHO says the mortality rate of the virus is between 40 and 75%. To date, there is neither a vaccine nor a specific treatment against the pathogen.
The WHO assures that “in the absence of a vaccine, the only way to reduce or prevent infections in people is to raise awareness of the risk factors and educate people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure and To reduce cases of infection. “Nipah virus.”
Symptoms of Nipah
The disease caused by Nipah belongs to the group of zoonoses, i.e. pathologies that are transmitted to humans through the body fluids of the infected animal. The disease also spreads through contaminated food and directly between people. Fruit bats are natural carriers of the virus and are considered the most likely cause of the resulting epidemics. Outbreaks of viral infections in pigs and other domestic animals such as horses, goats, sheep, cats and dogs were first reported during the initial outbreak in Malaysia.
Infection in humans can lead to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. Infected people show flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, myalgia, vomiting and sore throat.