Deadly Nipah Virus
In mid of May 2018, deadly Nipah virus struck Kerala’s Kozhikode district. This virus killed more than ten people and infected many.
Without proper quarantine facility and administrations inability to handle such type of situations, spread panic amid people.
Fearing the disease might spread people from this locality are shifting temporarily to other places. Might be, unknowingly carrying the virus with them to other areas.
What is Nipah Virus?
Nipah virus is a zoonotic disease that is naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans and humans to vertebrate animals.
These type of diseases existed for many centuries. However, because of the mixing of human and animal ecosystems, the threat from such type of viruses has increased.
The Nipah virus causes fever and upper respiratory ailments that quickly escalates to inflammation in the brain. This virus becomes deadly since no medicines or vaccines are available.
Problem is, immediately no one will know of the infection since the virus has an incubation period between five and fourteen days. After this period the person starts to show the symptoms of infection.
A hostof Nipah Virus
It is believed that Fruit bats found in East Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands are the main cause for this Nipah Virus. They are the carrier of this virus.
But how does it infect humans? Well, the virus gets transmitted through contact and transfer of body fluids.
Host to Host – The virus moves from bats (one host) to humans (another host) through fruit contaminated with bat saliva or excreta.
Not only bats, pigs also contribute in spreading this virus. A bat caring Nipah virus takes a bite from a fruit and drops the rest.
A pig nearby eats that contaminated fruit gets infected. Without proper precaution, a human handling that infected pig, in turn, gets infected with this virus.
Now, a human getting in touch with another human infected with Nipah virus will get infected with it.
Though Bats are not infected with this virus but others do especially humans. And this is how it spreads.
First Identification of Nipah Virus
In 1999, Nipah was first identified in Malaysia. Because of large-scale pig farming’s farmers started to grow mango and other fruit trees nearby which attracted bats.
While eating, the bats, including the infected one’s, dropped some portion of the fruits. Some of them contained the Nipah virus saliva. Pigs consumed these fruits and got infected and through them humans.
Nipah Virus – A Twist in the Tale
Earlier it was said that fruit bats were the main source for the Nipah virus in Kerala. But tests of blood and serum samples of the suspected bats turned negative.
If the bats are not the hosts and transmitters of this deadly disease in Kerala, then who is? Who is the host here? The administration will have to find the answer to these questions very quickly to stop it from spreading further.
A Brave Nurse
Lini Puthussery,a28-year nurse who had two sons, got infected with the disease while treating a family of three who was diagnosed with the Nipah virus. She was looking after them the whole night but unfortunately got infected herself.
After noticing the symptoms and realizing that she has also been infected with the same virus, she herself went to the hospital and asked to be quarantined. In a written note she wrote, “I don’t think I will be able to see you again. Sorry. Please raise our children well.”
Quarantine –At Present, the Only Option Left
As no vaccines or medicines are available, to prevent this disease from spreading, quarantine the person who is infected with this virus is the only solution available.