The fatal Nipah virus that jolted Kerala about a year ago, seems to have resurfaced in the state once again. Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja has confirmed one case of Nipah virus infection. A 23-year-old has been diagnosed of being infected with the virus in Kerala’s Ernakulam. The confirmation has come in from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. The deadly virus claimed 17 lives last year
What causes Nipah virus infection?
Direct contact with infected pigs, other infected animals, or through contaminated fruits (half-eaten fruits left by fruit bats), and even direct contact with sick persons have been cited as the underlying cause of outbreaks according to a report in the Indian Journal of Virology.
The incubation period for the virus ranges from 5 to 14 days and symptoms become visible after this period. Symptoms include fever, headache, fainting and nausea. In some cases, symptoms like choking, stomach pain, vomiting, fatigue and blurred vision could also be there. The patient can possibly go into a coma just two days after the symptoms begin. The chance of contracting encephalitis that affects the brain is also high.
Precautions are always better than cure:
While there is no vaccine available for the infection, preventive measures can be a key to control the spread.
* If you have excessive fatigue and drowsiness along with fever and cough, you should meet a doctor immediately. Do not forget to wear masks and gloves. Do not spend too much time with patients. Do not eat fruits and vegetables, which have been partially eaten by birds and animals.
* Avoid eating mango, guava and java apple. Do not use any of the things, which have been kept in open pots. People should be more serious about health if you are staying near where there are more bats. Keep yourself clean and tidy. If you go to a nearby hospital, you should wash your hands and feet clean with soap.
* The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care. Standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are important in preventing infections as Nipah virus encephalitis can be transmitted person-to-person.
* The drug ribavirin has been shown to be effective against the viruses in vitro, but human investigations to date have been inconclusive and the clinical usefulness of ribavirin remains uncertain, according to CDC.
* Take caution to ensure that food is not contaminated by bats. Take precautions to ensure bats don’t eat the food or drop feces on it. Do not eat fruits that may have been bitten by bats.
* Do not drink toddy that is brewed in open containers near palm trees.
* It is also important to safeguard oneself after coming in contact with someone who has contracted the virus. It is important to maintain a distance from the patient, to sanitise and wash hands thoroughly.
* Clothes, utensils and items typically used in the toilet or bathroom, like buckets and mugs, should be cleaned separately and maintained hygienically.
* It is important to cover one’s face while transporting the dead body of anyone who dies after contracting Nipah fever. The post also says that relatives should try refrain from hugging or kissing the dead person and should take utmost care while bathing the body before cremation or burial.
Stay connected with Awaaz Nation For More Updates!