You must have come across the news of spreading of nipah virus in Kerala lately. It is a matter of great concern and the onus of preventing it from spreading all across the nation is partly on us.
What is this virus?
- Nipah virus or NiV is an evolving zoonotic pathogen, that is, a virus transmitted from animals to humans.
- The detection of this virus dates back to 1988 when it was first detected in Malaysia in Kampung Sungai Nipah.
- It was also detected in Bangladesh in 2004 when people ate fruits contaminated by this virus.
- It is listed in the ‘Blueprint priority’ list of diseases by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
How does this virus spread?
This virus can be spread in a number of ways, some of which are listed below:
- It can spread through direct human to human contact with the infected persons defecations or secretions.
- It can be transferred to a human if he or she eats fruits that are partially eaten and hence infected by bats that themselves are infected with this virus.
- It can triggered by the consumption of partially cooked meat of the infected animals.
- Drinking contaminated date palm juice or sap can also spread this virus.
What are the symptoms if when gets infected?
It is necessary to know the particular symptoms of nipah virus infection for timely diagnosis and treatment.
- Nipah Virus infection can occur in humans without showing any drastic symptoms which makes it even more dangerous and harder to detect.
- The symptoms match that of influenza. For example, headaches, fever, vomiting, sore throat and muscular pain.
- As the infection progresses, there will be acute respiratory infection that might cause an interference in breathing.
- In extreme progression of the nipah virus, a person might develop fatal encephalitis which causes inflammation of the brain tissues. This can further cause inhibited consciousness, dizziness or negative neurological signs.
- In very severe scenarios, a person might go in a state of coma for 24-48 hours. There might also me seizures.
How to safeguard your kids from nipah virus infection?
The first and foremost responsibility that befalls a parent is the protection of their child. The first thing any parent takes care of is their kids’ health and well-being, both physical and mental. Hence, it is important to understand and be aware of the methods of prevention of such infections. Below are some pointers regarding methods of safeguarding your kid (and yourself) from nipah virus.
- Buy NH-95 grade or higher mask for your kid and you and make sure both of you wear them whenever you go out.
- Wash your child’s hand with soap at regular intervals, especially when they have come back from the playground or school or any other activity class etcetera. Wash your hands at regular intervals as well, that is, before cooking or after coming back home from the marketplace or office etcetera.
- Diligently check the fruits that you buy for the consumption of your kid and the entire household. Make sure the fruit isn’t half eaten or even punctured with an animal bite. Avoid consuming or giving your kid unpasteurized fruit juices as much as possible.
- Carefully wash and peel all the fruits before their consumption. Since fruits form a big part of a kid’s diet, you cannot completely stop its consumption. However, these cautious methods will ensure the protection of your kid.
- If you wish to give your kid date palm juice or wish to consume it yourself, make sure you boil it well before consumption to kill off any kind of infection.
- Be very vigilant about your own and your kid’s personal hygiene. Make them wear properly washed clothes and under clothes. Mothers of infants should use clean and washed wipe cloths or sanitised wipes at all times.
Since currently there is no vaccination or drug available to prevent or cure the nipah virus infection, it is best to follow all the prevention pointers given above.
Better to be safe than sorry!
We wish for the safety of you and your family.