Egypt warns EgyptAir workers in Southeast Asia of deadly zoonotic Nipah virus

Ahram Online , Monday 19 Apr 2021

The infection generally occurs after direct contact with infected animals, including bats and pig

Egyptair
File Photo: An Egyptair plane aircraft landed at Cairo Airport. REUTERS

Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority warned EgyptAir workers based in Southeast Asia of the deadly zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV), which is currently widespread in several Asian countries.

In a circular on Sunday, the authority provided the necessary information on the virus, which it said can be transmitted to humans from animals, other humans, and contaminated foods.

The infection generally occurs after direct contact with infected animals, including bats and pigs.

The symptoms, similar to influenza, take an incubation period ranging from five to 14 days. The maximum incubation period is 45 days.

The symptoms include fever, headaches, myalgia, vomiting and sore throat, the circular explained, adding that these initial symptoms can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that show acute encephalitis.

The Civil Aviation Authority urged the necessity of avoiding contact with fruit bats, pigs, and monkeys and refraining from consuming raw meat.

It also stressed the importance of wearing face masks and protective gear when in direct contact with animals, and avoiding direct contact with infected patients.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the zoonotic virus was first detected in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia.

It has since spread to other countries in Asia, including India, Singapore, and Bangladesh.

There is currently no treatment specific for Nipah virus infection, WHO said, estimating its fatality rate at 40 to 75 percent.  

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