Nipah virus: Prevention and risks

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The risk of getting Nipah virus infection in Canada

The risk to Canadians of getting the Nipah virus infection is very low. No cases of Nipah have been reported in Canada.

Who is most at risk

Human cases of Nipah virus infection have been confirmed in areas of South-East Asia including:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore

Areas where the species of fruit bat that carry Nipah virus are found are also at risk of outbreaks. This includes parts of:

  • Australia
  • Madagascar
  • West Africa
  • southern Asia

Preventing Nipah virus

There is no vaccine available against Nipah virus.

When travelling to countries where Nipah virus is present, avoid contact with animals, particularly bats and pigs. Be sure to wear gloves and protective clothing when:

  • working in animal slaughterhouses
  • handling sick animals or their tissues

When in affected regions, eat and drink safely. To do this:

  • protect food from bats
  • avoid food that may have come in contact with animals
  • do not consume food or drink that may have been contaminated by animals such as partly eaten fruits and raw date palm:
    • sap
    • juice
    • toddy

As a precaution, before consumption you should:

  • thoroughly wash and peel fruits
  • boil date palm sap, toddy or juice

To protect yourself from the spread of germs:

  • keep your hands away from your face
  • do not share eating or drinking utensils
  • avoid close contact with sick people and their body fluids
  • clean surfaces that are touched often (such as doorknobs and counters)
  • wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after visiting sick people

Health care workers should follow strict infection control measures. This includes wearing all necessary personal protective equipment when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Nipah virus, such as:

  • masks
  • gloves
  • gowns
  • face shields

Contact and droplet precautions should be taken by health care workers.

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