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The Nipah Virus (NiV): A Potential Threat to Public Health

In recent weeks, an outbreak of the Nipah virus has emerged in Southeast Asia, causing alarm among health officials and public. Nipah virus is a bat-borne, zoonotic virus that causes (NiV) infection in humans and other animals, a disease with a high mortality rate. Originating from fruit bats, this can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals or consumption of contaminated food. It can also spread from person-to-person through close contact with bodily fluids, making it highly contagious and posing a significant public health threat.

The incubation period for the Nipah virus ranges from 4 to 14 days. Initially, infected individuals may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, and sore throat. Then it can lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), respiratory issues, including severe coughing and difficulty breathing. In some cases, it can also cause coma or even death. The Nipah virus has been recognized as a global health concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized this as a priority pathogen for research and emphasizing the need for improved diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. Public education campaigns to raise awareness about the virus and its transmission are conducted.

The case fatality rate of Nipah virus infection is estimated at 40–75% but can vary by outbreak depending on surveillance and clinical management in affected areas. In affected areas, practicing good hygiene, such as regular handwashing, avoiding contact with sick animals, and consuming only properly cooked food is important. Wearing (PPE), gloves, masks, are essential for healthcare workers/ individuals in close contact with infected patients. In conclusion, the Nipah virus poses a significant threat to public health, with its potential for causing severe outbreaks and high mortality rates.

  • By Simran Kaur Anand


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