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.
2. Farmers who come in contact with bats.
3. Consuming Fruits which are already bitten by bat.
4. 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 diagnosis 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.
2. Maintain personal hygiene and intensive hand washing practices
3. *Avoid consuming raw fruits,* Consume only well cooked, clean, homemade food till the outbreak settles down.
4. Preferably use N95 mask while traveling or working in public places to avoid person to person transmission.
5. Be aware of the symptoms and report to the doctor immediately for early diagnosis and treatment.