Sindh issues alert for Nipah virus

By Muhammad JuniadPublished On 03 Oct 2023

In the advisory, the medical superintendents, directors, and livestock departments have been advised to exercise caution in a letter sent by Sindh’s director of health to hospitals around the state.

The Nipah virus is known to transmit quickly between and among people and from animals.

The warning also lists the virus’s symptoms, which can include fever, headaches, body pains, and, in severe cases, coma.

What is Nipah virus?

The Nipah virus was first identified in 1998 during an outbreak of illness among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore.

It is able to infect humans directly through contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats and pigs, with some documented cases of transmission among humans.

Scientists suspect Nipah has existed among flying foxes for millennia and fear a mutated, highly transmissible strain will emerge from bats.

There are no vaccines to prevent or cure the infection, which has a mortality rate of between about 70%. The usual treatment is to provide supportive care.

Infected people initially develop symptoms that include fever, respiratory distress, headaches, and vomiting, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Encephalitis and seizures can also occur in severe cases, leading to coma.

The virus is on the WHO’s research and development list of pathogens with epidemic potential.