1. What is Nipah Virus?
According to the World Health Organisation, Nipah virus or NiV infection is a newly emerging infectious disease that causes severe illness in both animals and humans. The natural host of the Nipah virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
Nipah virus is fairly new. The virus was first identified in 1998 in Malaysia and pigs were identified as the intermediate host. It spread to humans after they came in contact with pig feces and excretions. Nipah virus gets it’s name from the village where the virus was first spotted. The virus has also been found in species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep after they came in contact with pigs.
Speaking to FIT earlier, Prof Ramanan Laxminarayan of Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy had said,
Later Nipah virus had showed up in Bangladesh in 2004, where humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.
During the outbreak, 33 health workers and hospital visitors had become ill after exposure to patients. If there is any silver lining at all, it’s that human-to-human transmission weakens after a while.
Before the 2018 outbreak in Kerala, Nipah virus or NiV had infected 477 people and killed 252.