Nipah Virus Overview
This disease is caused by the Nipah virus, which spreads from animals to humans (also called as a zoonotic disease). Bats are the primary carriers of the disease and pigs act as the virus’s intermediate host, before passing on the virus to humans. Moreover, recent research has also shown that the Malaysian flying fox is also a potential carrier of the virus.
The virus can also spread between humans, through close family members or medical personnel that were in direct contact with the infected. Though the number of Nipah cases are small, the disease is severe enough to raise a health concern. Often, complications from the disease can turn fatal, with mortality rates hitting 74.5%.
Nipah Virus Symptoms
Symptoms of Nipah virus start to appear after an incubation period of about 5 to 14 days. Initially, the disease exhibits signs that resemble flu symptoms. Common characteristic symptoms include:
- A respiratory infection that can range from mild to severe
- Fever with chills
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Mental confusion
- Brain inflammation and swelling (encephalitis)
- Eventual lapse into a coma within 24-48 hours
Nipah is a fatal disease that requires intensive medical treatment. Currently, there is no cure for the virus, so treatment is done symptomatically.