What is Nipah Virus?
Nipah Virus is an emerging infectious disease that broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999. It was first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals such as dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
The Nipah virus infection is also known to affect human beings. 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.
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.
The first incidence of Nipah virus infection occurred when pigs in Malaysian farms came in contact with the bats who had lost their habitats due to deforestation.
Nipah Virus is a zoonotic disease, was known to affect humans in Malaysia and Singapore after coming in direct contact with the excretions or secretions of infected pigs. Reports from outbreaks in Bangladesh suggest transmission from bats in the process of drinking raw palm sap contaminated with bat excrement or climbing trees coated in the same
In India and Bangladesh, there is a possible of human-to-human transmission of the disease. Therefore, the necessary precautions has to be taken for the hospital workers in charge of taking care of the infected patients.
Precautions should also be taken when submitting and handling laboratory samples, as well as in slaughterhouses.