In Kerala there’s been outbreak of the Nipah virus, and authorities are taking steps to control its spread. As of now two people have unfortunately died and least five have been infected with this virus which has high mortality rate but is not highly contagious. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the fatality rate for Nipah virus can range from 40% to 75%.
The term “Nipah” comes from Malaysian village where the virus was first identified in 1998-1999 and it’s known for being particularly deadly.
The symptoms of Nipah virus
Fever: Nipah virus often begins with high fever.
Headache: Severe headaches are common early on.
Dizziness: Patients may feel dizzy or disoriented.
Nausea and vomiting: Some people may experience gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
Neck rigidity: Stiffness in the neck and muscle pain can be early signs of the infection.
Mental confusion: As the disease progresses, individuals may become disoriented and confused.
Coma: In severe cases Nipah virus infection can lead to coma within 24-48 hours.
Treatment of Nipah virus
It’s important to note that there is no specific antiviral treatment for Nipah virus infection. Supportive care is the primary approach which includes hospitalization for appropriate medical care, maintaining hydration with intravenous fluids, pain management, and in severe cases mechanical ventilation to assist with breathing. Some experimental antiviral drugs like Ribavirin and favipiravir have shown limited benefit, but treatment mainly focuses on managing symptoms.