A youth in Kerala has been found to be infected by the Nipah Virus. This comes after a year the virus led to a major death toll in the state.
- Since a 23-year old student was identified with the symptoms of Nipah# Virus,#Kerala is under high alert to arrest the spread of the virus.
- Already, people who might have come in contact with the infected person has been quarantined and put under observation.
- This time, the Kerala Health Department is not taking any chances against the virus.
- Isolation wards have been set up across hospitals and an alert has been put out to watch out for patients exhibiting the symptoms of the virus.
- The Nipah Virus is zoonotic in nature.
- It is transmitted from animals to humans.
- Fruit bats are the natural hosts of this virus.
- The virus can seriously affect animals like pigs too.
- Human to human transmission happens through saliva, urine, and excreta.
- In humans, the infection will lead to acute respiratory illness and encephalitis.
- Other symptoms of the disease include:
- High fever
- Sore throat
- muscle ache
- Inflammation of the heart muscles
- It will also lead to death in 70% of the cases.
- But, in many cases, death can be averted with proper care.
- The virus was first detected in Malaysia in 1996.
- In South East Asia, the virus causes hundreds of deaths every year.
- In India, two outbreaks of the virus were detected in Siliguri (2001) and Nadia (2007) districts of West Bengal.
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- Recently it was in the news that Remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug developed to cure Ebola is also effective against Nipah virus infection.
- At present, the monoclonal antibody, which is at an experimental stage is the treatment for Nipah. An experimental trial was conducted in 2018 in India during the Nipah Virus outbreak.
- In the new trial, scientists have found that green monkeys infected with the virus and were given intravenous Remdesivir survived, while those that have not been given the medicine died within eight days.
- In general, an infected person dies within two days after reaching the hospital. But, the new drug can be used as a quick treatment.
- Though Remdesivir was made to treat Ebola, it is found to be effective against Nipah, MERS Coronavirus, Respiratory Syncytial virus, and Lassa fever.
- This is because, all these viruses have a common polymerase – a genome-copying enzyme – and Remdesivir targets this enzyme to kill the virus.