HomeOthersNipah Virus: 70% Deadlier than COVID-19?

Nipah Virus: 70% Deadlier than COVID-19?

There’s a virus on the block, but unfortunately, it isn’t new. 

The Nipah virus (NiV) was first discovered in 1999 following an outbreak of disease in pigs and people in Malaysia and Singapore, according to the CDC. 

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This outbreak resulted in nearly 300 human cases and more than 100 deaths, and caused substantial economic impact as more than 1 million pigs were killed to help control the outbreak.

The symptoms of NiV infection range from mild to severe, with death occurring in 40%–70% of those infected in documented outbreaks between 1998 and 2018.

Infection with Nipah virus (NiV) can cause mild to severe disease, including swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and potentially death.

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Symptoms typically appear in 4-14 days following exposure to the virus. The illness initially presents as 3-14 days of fever and headache, and often includes signs of respiratory illness, such as cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing.

A phase of brain swelling (encephalitis) may follow, where symptoms can include drowsiness, disorientation, and mental confusion, which can rapidly progress to coma within 24-48 hours.

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Death may occur in 40-75% of cases. Long-term side effects in survivors of Nipah virus infection have been noted, including persistent convulsions and personality changes.

Infections that lead to symptoms and sometimes death much later after exposure (known as dormant or latent infections) have also been reported months and even years after exposure.

While there have been no other known outbreaks of NiV in Malaysia and Singapore since 1999, outbreaks have been recorded almost annually in some parts of Asia since then—primarily in Bangladesh and India.

The virus has been shown to spread from person-to-person in these outbreaks, raising concerns about the potential for NiV to cause a global pandemic.

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The CDC recommends preventive measures for people to avoid the virus. In areas where Nipah virus (NiV) outbreaks have occurred (Bangladesh, Malaysia, India, and Singapore), people should:

  • Practice handwashing regularly with soap and water
  • Avoid contact with sick bats or pigs
  • Avoid areas where bats are known to roost
  • Avoid consumption of raw date palm sap
  • Avoid consumption of fruits that may be contaminated by bats
  • Avoid contact with the blood or body fluids of any person known to be infected with NiV

Because NiV can be spread from person-to-person, standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are important in preventing hospital-acquired infections (nosocomial transmission) in settings where a patient has confirmed or suspected NiV infection.

Stay up to date with more news here at the East County Gazette. 

Celine German Lagundi
Celine German Lagundihttps://theeastcountygazette.com/
Celine is an experienced news writer, artist, and advocate based in Cebu. She is passionate about pop culture and current affairs.
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