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Infectious Diseases 2023

Vírus Nipah: what é, symptoms, prevenç&activity and treatment

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Vírus Nipah: what é, symptoms, prevenç&activity and treatment
Vírus Nipah: what é, symptoms, prevenç&activity and treatment

Nipah virus is a virus that belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family and is responsible for Nipah disease, which can be transmitted through direct contact with fluids or droppings of bats infected by this virus, or through person-to-person contact. person.

This disease was first identified in 1999 in Malaysia, however it has also been found in other countries such as Singapore, India and Bangladesh, and leads to the appearance of flu-like symptoms that can progress rapidly and result in neurological complications. serious that can put the person's life and risk.

Main symptoms

In some cases, Nipah virus infection may be asymptomatic or lead to mild flu-like symptoms that may disappear after 3 to 14 days.

In the case of infections in which symptoms appear, they appear between 10 and 21 days after contact with the virus, being the main ones;

  • Muscle pain;
  • Encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain;
  • Disorientation;
  • Nausea;
  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Decreased mental functions, which can progress to coma in 24 to 48 hours.

Symptoms of Nipah virus infection can evolve rapidly, resulting in life-threatening complications such as seizures, personality disorders, respiratory failure or deadly encephalitis, which occurs as a consequence of chronic inflammation of the brain and the damage caused by the virus.Learn more about encephalitis.

How the diagnosis is made

The diagnosis of Nipah virus infection must be made by the infectious disease specialist or general practitioner based on the initial assessment of the person's signs and symptoms. Thus, special tests to isolate the virus and serology may be indicated to confirm the infection and, thus, start the most appropriate treatment.

Furthermore, the physician may recommend imaging tests to assess the severity of the disease, and computed tomography or computed tomography is recommended.

How the treatment is done

To date, there is no specific treatment for Nipah virus infection, however the doctor may indicate supportive measures according to the severity of the disease, and rest, hydration, mechanical ventilation or symptomatic treatment may be indicated.

Some in vitro studies are being done with the antiviral ribavirin, so there is no evidence that it would have activity against the disease in people.Studies with monoclonal antibodies in animals are also being carried out, but there are still no conclusive results. In addition, there is no vaccine to prevent this infection, so to prevent the disease it is recommended to avoid endemic areas and the consumption of potentially infected animals in these regions.

As it is an emerging virus, with the potential to become endemic, the Nipah virus is on the World He alth Organization's priority list for the identification of drugs that could be used in the treatment of the disease and the development of vaccines for prevention.

Prevention of Nipah infection

As there is still no effective treatment against the Nipah virus and no vaccine that can be applied as a form of prevention, it is important that some measures are taken to reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the disease, such as:

  • Avoid contact with potentially infected animals, especially bats and pigs;
  • Avoid consumption of possibly infected animals, especially when they are not properly cooked;
  • Avoid contact with fluids and excrements of animals and/or people infected with the Nipah virus;
  • Hand hygiene after contact with animals;
  • Use of masks and/or gloves when in contact with a person infected with the Nipah virus.

Furthermore, hand washing with soap and water is essential, as it is possible to promote the elimination of infectious agents that may be present in the hand, including the Nipah virus, and thus prevent the transmission of the disease.

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