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Symptoms, treatment and other details you need to know

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Kerala is currently battling a spike in COVID-19 cases and the sudden outbreak of the Nipah virus. The coronavirus and Nipah virus may appear to be similar in nature but it is to be noted that these viruses are quite different.

Nipah is a zoonotic infection

According to experts, the Nipah virus is a zoonotic infection (an infectious disease that is transmitted between species, from animals to humans or vice versa). The virus was isolated and identified in 1999 and is named after a village in Malaysia, Sungai Nipah.

In Nipah virus, the host can be a pig, a fruit bat, dogs, goats, cats, horses and possibly sheep, too. It is believed that the virus is maintained in nature by “flying foxes” (a type of fruit bat).

But the origins of coronavirus are yet to be known.

Both Nipah and COVID-19 have no cure

Notably, both infections have no cure. “Currently, there are no licensed treatments available for Nipah virus (NiV) infection. Treatment is limited to supportive care, including rest, hydration, and treatment of symptoms as they occur,” said the Centre for Disease Control.

The CDC added that there are “immunotherapeutic treatments (monoclonal antibody therapies) that are currently under development and evaluation for the treatment of NiV infections”.

Nipah more lethal but less infectious

According to the Global Virus network, the R0 (R naught) of the Nipah virus was estimated to be 0.43. The fatality rate is 45 per cent to 70 per cent.

But Covid’s R0 fluctuates heavily and has been above the 1 per cent mark several times in India and outside. This is why it is transmitted so easily.

The threat

Nipah virus outbreaks are recorded in Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and India. The virus has also been found affecting bats in countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

On the other hand, coronavirus cases have been reported in 221 countries and territories around the world.

Symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus include fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, loss of smell and so on.

WHO says, “For Covid-19, data to date suggest that 80 per cent of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15 per cent are severe infections, requiring oxygen and 5 per cent are critical infections, requiring ventilation. These fractions of severe and critical infection would be higher than what is observed for influenza infection.”

Nipah virus infection in humans causes a range of clinical presentations. Infected people initially develop fever, headaches, myalgia (muscle pain), vomiting and sore throat. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis. 

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Courtesy – www.dnaindia.com

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