Every summer the parched lands of Northern India wait to be drenched with monsoon hope ushering from the coasts of South India. But this monsoon has brought alongside the dread of death from the South coasts in the form of NIPAH VIRUS. This deadly virus has now started encompassing the rest of India as well.
The name “Nipah Virus” originated from Sungai Nipah, a village in the Malaysian Peninsula where pig farmers became ill with encephalitis.
It was initially isolated and identified in 1999 during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. Given the relatedness of NiV to Hendra virus, bat species were quickly singled out for investigation and flying foxes of the genus Pteropus were subsequently identified as the reservoir for NiV. In the 1999 outbreak nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported. In order to stop the outbreak, more than a million pigs were euthanized. Since this outbreak, no subsequent cases have been reported in either Malaysia or Singapore.
In 2001, NiV was again identified as the causative agent in an outbreak of human disease occurring in Bangladesh. Genetic sequencing confirmed this virus as Nipah virus, but a strain different from the one identified in 1999. In the same year, another outbreak was identified retrospectively in Siliguri, India with reports of person-to-person transmission in hospital settings. Unlike the Malaysian NiV outbreak, outbreaks occur almost annually in Bangladesh and have been reported several times in India.
•Transmission of Nipah virus to humans may occur after direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or from other NiV infected people.
•In Malaysia and Singapore, humans were apparently infected with Nipah virus only through close contact with infected pigs.
•Person-to-person transmission of Nipah virus in Bangladesh and India has been reported. This is most commonly seen in the family and care givers of Nipah virus-infected patients.
•Transmission also occurs from direct exposure to infected bats. A common example is consumption of raw date palm sap contaminated with infectious bat excretions.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
NiV is believed to be associated with the inflammation of the brain. After exposure and incubation period of 5 to 14 days, illness presents with 3 to 11 days of fever and other symptoms such as:
•A severe headache
•These initial symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours. During the initial stage of their infections, some patients suffer respiratory illness, and some show severe neurological signs
•Long-term sequelae including personality changes and persistent convulsions
•Latent infections with subsequent reactivation of the virus
•By avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in endemic areas and not drinking raw date palm sap.
•Domestic animals can also be the carriers of NiV as fruit bats often drop partially eaten fruits which can be consumed by them.
•Don’t climb trees where bats may have left their saliva or secretions.
•Additional efforts focused on surveillance and awareness will help prevent future outbreaks.
•Research is needed to better understand the ecology of bats and Nipah virus, investigating questions such as the seasonality of disease within reproductive cycles of bats.
•Surveillance tools should include reliable laboratory assays for early detection of disease in communities and livestock, and raising awareness of transmission and symptoms is important in reinforcing standard infection control practices to avoid human-to-human infections in hospital settings (nosocomial infection).
•It is also important to maintain distance with an infected person, and sanitize and wash hands and clothes afterwards.
There is no Allopathic treatment for Nipah Virus till date, only Intensive Support is recommended.
Homoeopathic Medicines for Nipah Virus Infection:
Fast acting acute remedies, with profound effect on Central Nervous System and Respiratory system would be suitable for treating patients with nipah virus infection.
The best Homoeopathic remedies that are indicated as per Genus Epidemicus in Nipah Virus Infection Outbreak are:
Aconitum Napellus or Belladonna are suited best in initial stage initial 12-24 hrs of onset of first symptom when patient shows initial signs of illness that is fever and headache, this medicines can oslo be started in doubted cases without any side effects.
Indian Homoeopathic Medical Association IHMA- Kerala based on its study report has proposed BELLADONNA to be probable PREVENTIVE HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE FOR NIPAH VIRUS INFECTION in humans
Gelsemium Sempervirens is best indicated when symptoms of central Central nervous system have developed like Dullness, Diziness, Drowziness, Disorientation, Blurring of vision tremors and trembling.
Nyctanthes Arbortristis in Homoeopathic Mother Tincture from is indicated in general.
Plumbum Metallicum or Ipecacuanha is indicated in patient who shows symptoms of pain in abdomen, nausea, vomitting.
Aspidosperma Quebracho or Blatta Orientalis or Arsenicum Album are indicated homoeopathic remedies in patients showing symptoms of respiratory tract involvement with breathlessness and choking sensation.
Stramonium or Baptisia or Zincum Metallicum are best suited in later stages when patient is in delirium or comatose state.
Along with these homoeopathic medicines it is necesarry to isolate patient under hospital admission medical observation with proper supportive and symptomatic treatment.
**The mentioned Homoeopathic Medicines should be taken only under guidance and observation of qualified and registered homoeopathic practitioner.