Nipah virus — All you need to know about symptoms, treatment and precautions

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Nipah virus — All you need to know about symptoms, treatment and precautions
Representative imagePixabay
  • Kerala battles with the sudden outbreak of Nipah virus while combating COVID-19 in the state.
  • The incubation period of this virus is two weeks and the fatality rate is 40-80%, as per WHO.
  • The transmitter of the disease can be a pig, a fruit bat, dogs, goats, cats or even horses.
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As Kerala is already fighting a tough battle with COVID-19 cases, accounting for more than 50% of daily cases in India, a sudden outbreak of Nipah virus has created more tension in the state.

A 12 year-old boy in Kozhikode district succumbed to Nipah virus on September 7. The boy had symptoms of encephalitis (swollen brain) and myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscles). His samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune. A team from the Centre was rushed to Kerala to help in curbing the infection.

11 more people in the Kozhikode district have shown symptoms of the Nipah virus, as per media reports.

Is Nipah virus and COVID-19 same?



Both viruses appear to be similar, but are quite different. Nipah virus is a zoonotic infection, which means these infections are transmitted from animals to humans or vice versa. The transmitter of the disease can be a pig, a fruit bat, dogs, goats, cats or even horses.

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What is the Nipah virus?



Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus which can be transmitted from one animal to another or humans through contaminated food or directly between people and is caused by fruit bats.

The first outbreak was reported in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998-99 and nearly 300 people were infected with the virus, and around 100 people succumbed to it.

In India, it was first detected in Siliguri, West Bengal in 2001, and around 45 people had died from the virus. Kerala also reported several cases of Nipah virus in 2018.

The incubation period of this virus is two weeks and the fatality rate is 40-80%, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Symptoms of Nipah virus



  • Cough and cold
  • Sore throat
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Muscle pain and body ache
  • encephalitis (swollen brain) causing headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, mental confusion and seizures
  • myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscles)
According to WHO, Nipah virus infection in humans can range from asymptomatic to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis.

Treatment for Nipah virus



There is no such treatment for this infection. However, one should immediately consult his/her doctor on the development of any of the above symptoms. People are recommended to not to self-medicate as this can be risky and can further deteriorate one’s condition.

Precautions one can take to avoid the virus



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  • Avoid eating fruits and vegetables, which have fallen on the ground as it may have the chances of containing the virus.
  • Stay away from fruit bats and avoid pig feeding.
  • Maintain your healthy lifestyle.

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