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What is the "Nipah Virus (NiV)" ?

N.K. Chauhan in Science & Tech
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Sep 06, 2021, Updated: May 22, 2022 · 1 min. read

Scientists at Pune's ICMR – National Institute of Virology were able to detect the presence of IgG antibodies against Nipah virus infection (NiV) in 51 bats that were captured from "Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry".

The first outbreaks of the Nipah virus (Nipah henipavirus) among humans was reported from Malaysia (1998) and Singapore (1999).

The virus takes its name from the village in Malaysia where the person in whom the virus was first isolated died of the disease.

Since it was first identified in 1998-99, there have been multiple outbreaks of the Nipah virus, all of them in South and Southeast Asia.

In India, West Bengal had seen an outbreak in 2001 and 2007, while Kerala had reported several cases in 2018.

How does it spread ?

It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it has been transmitted from animals to human beings.

The transmission happens mainly through consumption of contaminated food.

But human-to-human transmission is also considered possible, but not fully established.

The animal host reservoir for this virus is known to be the fruit bat, commonly known as flying fox.

Fruit bats are known to transmit this virus to other animals like pigs, and also dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.

Humans get infected mainly through direct contact with these animals, or through consumption of food contaminated by saliva or urine of these infected animals.

The Nipah virus is known to spread far more slowly than SARS-CoV-2. However, it is its ability to kill that is the biggest concern.

The outbreak in 2018 killed 17 people of the 19 infected, a death rate of 89%.

In comparison, the mortality rate of Covid-19 epidemic is expected to be around 1 per cent.

Nipah outbreaks have happened mainly in sparsely populated (thinly dispersed) villages, the potential of the virus to spread to many individuals has been low.

Further, the very high death rates also contribute to low transmission.

There are currently no drugs or vaccines that specifically target Nipah virus infection.

WHO has identified Nipah as a priority disease for the WHO Research and Development Blueprint.

Last seen in news on: Apr 07, 2022
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