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Nipah Virus outbreak in Kerala

Published: 15th Sep, 2023

Context

Nipah virus attacks returned to Kerala, with two deaths reported from Kozhikode district.

 

About

About Nipah Virus Infection:

  • It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
  • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
  • Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis that causes severe and often fatal disease in both infected horses and humans.
  • It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
  • Vectors:It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
  • Transmission:
    • The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
    • The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
  • Symptoms:
    • The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

Recent Update:

  • Recently, Scientists detected the presence of IgG antibodies against Nipah virus infection (NiV) in 51 bats that were captured from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

What is Antibody?

  • Antibody, also called immunoglobulin, is a protective protein produced by the immune system in response to the presence of a foreign substance, called an antigen.
  • A wide range of substances are regarded by the body as antigens, including disease-causing organisms and toxic materials.
  • Antibodies recognize and attack onto antigens in order to remove them from the body.
  • Types of Antibodies:
  • IgG:It is the main antibody in blood and it has a powerful ability to bind to bacteria and toxins, and thus it takes on an important role in the biological defense system.
    • It is the only isotype that can pass through the placenta, and IgG transferred from the mother's body protects a newborn.

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