The virus responsible for Nipah disease can cause a new pandemic. The pathogen can be transmitted through direct contact with fluid or excrement from infected bats, or through person-to-person. The information is from the Metrópoles website.
The disease was first identified in 1999 in Malaysia, but has already been found in other countries such as Singapore, India and Bangladesh, and leads to the appearance of flu-like symptoms. The condition can progress quickly and result in serious neurological complications that can lead to death. Mortality from virus infection is 50%. However, virus infection can also be asymptomatic or cause mild flu-like symptoms that go away after 3 to 14 days.
In the case of infections in which symptoms appear, they appear between 10 to 21 days after contact with the virus, the main ones being: muscle pain; brain inflammation; disorientation; nausea; fever; headache; decreased mental functions, which can progress to coma within 24 to 48 hours.
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According to the report, the symptoms of the disease can evolve quickly, resulting in complications such as seizures, personality disorders, respiratory failure or brain death, which happens as a consequence of chronic brain inflammation and damage caused by the virus.
The infectologist or general practitioner can conclude the diagnosis of Nipah disease from the initial assessment of the symptoms presented. Special tests to isolate the virus and serology to confirm the infection may be indicated.
In addition, the physician may indicate the performance of imaging tests to assess the severity of the disease, and computed tomography or computed tomography is recommended.
Treatment and Prevention
There is no specific treatment for this virus infection. However, the physician may indicate supportive measures according to the severity of the disease: rest, hydration, mechanical ventilation or symptomatic treatment may be recommended.
According to the publication, some in vitro studies are being done with the antiviral ribavirin, but there is no evidence that the drug would have activity against the disease in humans. Animal monoclonal antibody studies are also being carried out, but there are still no conclusive results. Furthermore, there is no vaccine to prevent this infection.
As it is an emerging virus with the potential to become endemic, Nipah is on the World Health Organization (WHO) priority list for identifying drugs that could be used in the treatment of the disease and developing vaccines for prevention .
Some measures contribute to reduce the risk of infection and disease transmission, such as: avoiding contact with potentially infected animals, especially bats and pigs; avoid the consumption of possibly infected animals, especially when they are not properly cooked; avoid contact with fluids and excreta from animals and/or people infected with the Nipah virus; hand hygiene after coming into contact with animals; wearing masks and/or gloves when in contact with a person infected with the Nipah virus.
In addition, hand washing with soap and water is essential to eliminate infectious agents that may be present in the hand and prevent disease transmission.
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