Nipah virus is an emerging infectious disease that can cause severe respiratory and neurological disease symptoms. The virus is zoonotic, for which Pteropus bats are believed to be symptomless natural carriers. So far, the outbreaks of Nipah virus have been limited to Malaysia, Singapore, India and Bangladesh.
To date, the primary transmission to humans has been Nipah virus infected pigs. This emerging infectious disease is spread to pigs via bat excretion and secretion. Considered a highly contagious infection amongst pigs and transmitted to humans by direct contact. And there’s some evidence infected humans can spread the virus others.
Initial symptoms of Nipah virus infection mimic those of influenza, causing symptoms like:
In some, Nipah virus may cause these serious respiratory and neurological disease symptoms:
- blurred vision
- rapid heart rate
- severe hypertension
- altered consciousness
- acute respiratory distress
- severe respiratory problems
The neurological symptoms indicate the infection has caused encephalitis, which can progress into a coma and even death. And for those that survive their brain infection, persistent neurological dysfunction or a relapse of encephalitis are potential complications.
Currently, there’s no specific treatment nor a vaccine for Nipah virus infection. Management of your respiratory and neurological disease symptoms is the principal course of treatment. Ribavirin has been tested on this emerging infectious disease and although the antiviral drug demonstrated some encouraging results, more research is necessary.