Ribavarin helps contain Nipah virus outbreak
The Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Wednesday said that the outbreak of Nipah virus (NiP), which has claimed 10 lives, has been contained and there was no need to panic. Shailaja said that though the virus had been contained, there was a need be alert. "There need not be any panic over bats. The government is awaiting the supply of ribavirin, a drug that's commonly used for treating similar cases," she said.
The drug ribavirin has been shown to be effective against the viruses in-vitro. Ribavirin is primarily used primarily to treat Hepatitis C and viral hemorrhagic fevers.
Side effects of Ribavirin
Ribavirin is a prescription drug, and people who have been prescribed this medicine may experience the following side effects:
Diarrhoea & stomach upset
Dizziness and/or blurred vision
Troubled sleep cough
Loss in appetite
Weight loss or gain
Changes in taste may occur
Apart from medication, the primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care. Standard infection control practices and proper barrier nursing techniques are important in preventing infections as Nipah virus encephalitis can be transmitted person-to-person.
Transmission of NiV takes place through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or from other NiV-infected persons.