Dr. Anup R Warrier, Consultant - Infectious Diseases & Infection Control
What is Nipah Virus Infection?
- The Nipah Virus (NiV) is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae - genus Henipavirus
- Niphah is an enveloped single stranded RNA Virus that can cause Encephalitis or inflammation of the brain
- Mortality rate of Nipah virus infection is 50 - 70%
How Does Nipah Virus Spread?
- Direct contact with infected bats, pigs (saliva, excreta)
- Direct contact with Nipah virus infected people
- Consumption of raw date palm sap contaminated with infectious bat excretions
What are the signs and symptoms of Nipah infection?
- Incubation period of Nipah Virus ranges from 5 - 14 days
- The illness presents in 3-14 days with fever and headache
- Respiratory illness / cough
- Neurological signs - disorientation and mental confusion
- Convulsions; personality changes
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
- The symptoms can progress to coma within 24 - 48 hours
What are the precautions that need to be taken to prevent Nipah infection?
- Do not eat fruits that have been bitten / half-eaten by bats, birds or animals
- Prevent any contact with bat excreta, including using water from wells contaminated by bats
- Avoid consuming Toddy collected in open containers in areas with large bat population
- Avoid close contact with domestic animals
- Use gloves and personal protection while handling excreta of domestic animals.
- Consume only cooked food, avoid raw fruits and vegetables
- Avoid close contact with patients with confirmed Nipah virus infection
- Do not share clothes, bed linen, towels or utensils with infected persons
- Keep a minimum distance of 1 meter (one arm’s distance) and use personal mask while visiting patients in hospitals.
- After visiting patients, wash hands with soap and water before eating
- Use hand sanitizer to disinfect hands
- Avoid touching people who died of Nipah virus infection during cremation