Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

Raise Awareness of Nipah Virus

AHM Masum Billah

The Nipah is a highly infectious viral disease with a high fatality rate. A virus named Nipah is responsible for this disease. Recently, this disease has been reported in 28 districts across the country. To stop the spread of this virus the government is taking active steps. To this end, the government is urging caution and taking necessary measures for those who are infected. In accordance with this directive, the DNCC Covid hospital in Mohakhali, the capital, has been prepared for Nipah patients.

According to the IEDCR, ten persons have been diagnosed with Nipah virus this year, with seven people dying as a result. Unfortunately, there is no cure or vaccination for the virus. If a person survives the infection, they may have physical consequences. As a result, it is critical that everyone take care to steer clear this severe sickness.

The initial outbreak of the Nipah virus was reported in the village of Sungai Nipah in Malaysia between 1998 and 1999. The virus was named after this location. Fruit-eating bats are the primary carriers of the virus, though not all bats carry the disease. However, the bats themselves do not get infected with the virus. Currently, there is no vaccine or specific cure for it; therefore, prevention and control of the disease can only be achieved through caution and awareness.

The symptoms of Nipah virus disease can vary and sometimes there may be no symptoms at all. However, common symptoms include mild to severe breathing difficulties, headaches with fever, muscle aches, seizures, confusion, and loss of consciousness. These symptoms can indicate a potential Nipah virus infection. These symptoms may appear within 2 weeks of getting contact with the virus.

The fruit-eating bat is well known as the Nipa disease carrier. Raw date juice and partially consumed fruits by bats contain saliva or excrement. Fruits that have been partially consumed by bats are left on the ground. They could have been contaminated by bat feces. Grass may also be contaminated by partially digested fruits. Cows, goats, and pigs can be infected with the virus if they consume half eaten fruit or grass contaminated with bat excrement and urine. Nipah virus can enter the human body through close contact with virus-infected animals. We should immediately refer the affected person to the nearest government hospital if symptoms or signs of Nipah virus disease appear.

Reports say people have been affected by Nipah in some districts of Bangladesh by drinking raw date juice mixed with saliva, feces and urine of bat. In some of these areas, people who came in close contact with a Nipah-infected patient have contracted this disease. Nipah, according to scientists, can be passed from person to person by the infected patient's sneeze-cough-phlegm-spit, i.e., respiratory system and bodily fluids.

As a result, in order to save ourselves from this deadly disease, we must be vigilant and observant. Panic will not help in this situation. Before eating any fruit, it should be well washed and dried. Raw vegetables taken as salad should also be thoroughly washed and dried. Date juice should never be drunk raw. We should be very cautious to avoid saliva, feces, and urine of bat at all costs. However, date jaggery, cooked date juice, and cooked vegetables are safe. Because this virus is killed when heated to 70° C or above.

Additionally, we need to be cautious when interacting with those who have the Nipah virus. Such a person should never be approached without a reason. The individual tasked with providing care for a patient must exercise due caution and follow infection control procedures. That specific person must abide by all guidelines and rules for the avoidance of respiratory illnesses.

When coming within one meter of the patient, the caregiver first put the mask on face, then put the mask on the patient's face. Wash both hands thoroughly with soap before and after giving the patient food and medicine. Wash the patient's dishes thoroughly with soap before and after eating.

It is important to watch out that no one else eats the ill person's leftovers or feeds them to animals. Instead, the extra food should be dumped at a location and manner that prevents access by humans or other animals. Wash the patient's cloths, towels, dishes, glasses etc. thoroughly with soap. Keep them separate, no one else will use them.  In case of death of the patient, his burial should follow the prescribed rules, so that no one else comes in direct contact with the saliva, blood, feces, urine of the dead patient. The dead body should be bathed after taking the prescribed measures wearing gloves and mask. The persons who perform the bath, after bathing the dead body must wash themselves with soap and put on the washed clothes.

Nipah is a serious illness with a high fatality rate that lacks a vaccine or known treatment. Everyone must take the appropriate steps to stop the transmission of this virus, such as avoiding contact with raw date juice and bat bodily fluids. The government is vigorously attempting to stop the spread of Nipah, but it's crucial that everyone play their part by being cautious and taking the appropriate precautions to avoid getting sick.


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