Nipah Virus : Alert
The Kerala health department issued a health alert in Kozhikode after two people who died due to “unnatural” deaths in the district were suspected to have been infected with the Nipah virus (NiV).
- Nipah Virus infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted from animals to humans.
- The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
- It was first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
- It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals, including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
- The disease spreads through fruit bats, or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
- The virus is present in bat urine and, potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
- Typically, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.