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 photophobia 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 rdiagnosis 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 hygeine and intensive hand washing practices
- *Avoid consuming raw fruits,* Consume only well cooked, clean, home made 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.
- Dr.Arjun.M.B, MD
Dr.R.M.L Hospital, New Delhi.
(National Nodal Centre for Control of yellow fever and other communicable diseases)