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Nipah Virus

  • 14 Sep 2023
  • 2 min read

Source: IE

Why in News?

The Nipah Virus has made a resurgence in Kerala, India, with two fatalities.

  • This marks the first Nipah Virus outbreak in India since 2021 when a case was reported in Kozhikode during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is Nipah Virus?

  • About:
    • It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
    • The organism that causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
      • Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis that causes severe and often fatal diseases in both infected horses and humans.
    • It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
    • The disease is named after a village in Malaysia, Sungai Nipah, where it was first detected.
    • It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
  • Transmission:
    • The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
    • The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
  • Symptoms:
    • The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.
  • Prevention:
    • Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by the Nipah virus.

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