About Nipah infection
- It is a viral infection caused by the Nipah virus (NiV).
- Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are the natural host of Nipah virus.
- The disease was first identified in 1998 during an outbreak in Malaysia and it was named after a village in Malaysia, Sungai Nipah. Later, Nipah outbreaks have been reported in Singapore, Bangladesh and India.
- Till date, India has experienced four episodes of NiV outbreaks with Case Fatality Rate (CFR) ranging from 65% to 100%. The first evidence of NiV infection was reported in Siliguri district, West Bengal in 2001. The last outbreak was reported in Kerala state in 2019.
- A study in 2018 has identified many South East Asian countries including Indian states as potential hotspots for the NiV disease.
- NiV is on the top-10 priority list pathogens identified by the World Health Organization.
- It is a zoonotic virus (transmitted from animals to humans) which can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.
- Consumption of fruits or fruit products (such as raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats is the most likely source of infection.
- In infected people, it causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis.
- The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers.
- There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for Nipah virus infection.
- The primary treatment for humans is supportive care.
Why in News?
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reviewed steps taken for containment of the Nipah virus outbreak in Kozhikode, Kerala.