The World Health Organisation (WHO) has put scientists and health workers around the globe on alert for a new and potentially deadly pathogen – Disease Nipah .
Each year the Geneva-based organisation, which is charged with monitoring and safeguarding world health, convenes a high-level meeting of senior scientists to list diseases that pose a serious risk of sparking a major international public health emergency.
A rare, brain-damaging virus that experts consider a possible epidemic threat has broken out in the state of Kerala, India, for the first time, infecting at least 18 people and killing 17 of them, according to the World Health Organization.
The Nipah virus naturally resides in fruit bats across South and Southeast Asia, and can spread to humans through contact with the animals’ bodily fluids. There is no vaccine and no cure.
The virus is listed by the W.H.O. as a high priority for research. Current treatment measures are insufficient, according to Dr. Stuart Nichol, the head of the viral special pathogens branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There’s a market failure for protecting people from this,” said Dr. Steve Luby, an epidemiologist at Stanford University. “It’s not like treating baldness or breast cancer, where wealthy people will pay for your product. There’s no big customer here, no incentive, until it escalates.”
Nipah virus infection
Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. On this occasion, pigs were the intermediate hosts. However, in subsequent NiV outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India.
NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.
The Nipah infection produces flulike symptoms, including fevers, body aches and vomiting, which often progress to acute respiratory syndrome and encephalitis, or brain inflammation. Some survivors show persistent neurological effects, including personality changes.
Humans who have direct contact with infected fruit bats or infected pigs is the usual way an outbreak begins. However, consumption of raw date palm sap contaminated with bat feces is another common way to get the disease. Human-to-human transmission occurs during close contact between family members and/or medical caregivers.
Encephalitis (brain inflammation), nerve disorders, and respiratory problems are the major symptoms of Nipah virus infection.
Treatment is limited to supportive care although some physicians suggest the drug, ribavirin, may be useful. A monoclonal antibody targeting the viral G glycoprotein has been beneficial in a ferret model of the disease.
Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security
What is the incubation period for a Nipah virus infection?
The incubation period (time from initial exposure to virus to when symptoms begin) for NiV usually varies from about five to 14 days. There have been a few cases with much longer incubation periods, as long as 45 days.
What is the contagious period for a Nipah virus infection?
Doctors do not completely understand the contagious period for infection, but it likely begins during the incubation period (proven in pigs) and continues until the patient stops shedding virus. In most patients, this occurs when the symptoms and signs of the infection are diminished or gone.
What are risk factors for a Nipah virus infection?
The risk factors for this infection include having close contact with infected animals such as pigs, bats, and/or humans infected with the virus. In addition, consumption of raw date palm sap is a significant risk factor since bat excrement often contaminates this substance.
What are Bacteria?
Bacteria are microscopic, single-cell organisms that live almost everywhere. Bacteria live in every climate and location on earth. Some are airborne while others live in water or soil. Bacteria live on and inside plants, animals, and people. The word “bacteria” has a negative connotation, but bacteria actually perform many vital functions for organisms and in the environment. For example, plants need bacteria in the soil in order to grow.
The vast majority of bacteria are harmless to people and some strains are even beneficial. In the human gastrointestinal tract, good bacteria aid in digestion and produce vitamins. They also help with immunity, making the body less hospitable to bad bacteria and other harmful pathogens. When considering all the strains of bacteria that exist, relatively few are capable of making people sick.
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Things to avoid: Avoid fruits from unknown origin like blueberries. The host of this virus are fruit bats who often drop half-eaten fruits which then may get eaten by other animals.
This can lead to further spreading of the infection. It’s recommended to strictly avoid pork, date palm sap, fruits from unknown origin and blueberries in the infected areas particularly.
Household changes: Wash fruits with vinegar properly and use a mask whenever you head out. If any of your family members are affected from Nipah virus then, isolate the person in a separate room; wash the patient’s clothes and bedsheets separately while giving them proper medication after consulting a doctor.
Vaccination: As of now, no particular vaccine is available to cure Nipah Virus. The only way to cure this virus is care.
With the outbreak of the newly emerging deadly infection – Nipah Virus(NiV) which is the cause of severe diseases in both human and animals, in Southern India has spread at a high rate in the past few days leaving a panic situation behind. So, follow these guidelines and make sure not to get in direct contact with infected people
o Maintain a high level of personal hygiene.
o Consult a doctor if you notice any symptoms.
o In case you’re diagnosed, the patient must be kept in seclusion.
o Avoid exposure to animals especially, pigs and bats.
o Wash your hands properly and make sure to cover your mouth when you pass by the infected area.
Over to you
Now that you are completely aware about this deadly infection, it is advised that you proceed cautiously and protect your family against this virus. Please share the information with your loved ones and stay abreast of your surroundings.
Taking extra caution when the infection and virus are active is the only way that you can shield yourself against this fatal disease. You must seek professional help in case you notice any symptoms.
Take a look at this collection The Lost Book Of Remedies, taken word for word out of a circa 1845 manual.
What is The Lost Book of Remedies? The Lost Book of Remedies PDF contains a series of medicinal and herbal recipes to make home made remedies from medicinal plants and herbs. Chromic diseases and maladies can be overcome by taking the remedies outlined in this book. The writer claims that his grandfather was taught herbalism and healing whilst in active service during world war two and that he has treated many soldiers with his home made cures.
How does it work?
The premise is that many modern day medicines work on the basis that they treat the symptoms and not the cause, but contained within The Lost Book of Remedies are a number of tinctures and tonics made from plants and leaves that will treat the cause of the illness, thus eradicating the disease altogether.
The book is a direct copy of the little notebook carried around by the author’s grandfather when treating his patients. However, the illustrations of the plants have been updated to photographs so that they are easier for you to identify.