Nipah Virus



  • Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.
  • In infected people, it causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers.
  • The virus has so far surfaced only in Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and the states of West Bengal and Kerala in India

About Nipah virus

  • Nipah virus (NiV) is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus.
  • Nipah virus disease is an emerging infectious disease spread by secretions of infected bats. It can spread to humans through contaminated fruit, infected animals, or through close contact with infected humans.
  • NiV 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.
  • Its name originated from Sungai Nipah, a village in the Malaysian Peninsula where pig farmers became ill with encephalitis.
  • Given the relatedness of NiV to Hendra virus, bat species were quickly singled out for investigation and flying foxes of the genus Pteropuswere subsequently identified as the reservoir for NiV.

Nipah outbreak

  • In the 1999 outbreak, Nipah virus caused a relatively mild disease in pigs, but nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported. In order to stop the outbreak, more than a million pigs were euthanized, causing tremendous trade loss for Malaysia. Since this outbreak, no subsequent cases (in neither swine nor human) 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 (nosocomial transmission). Unlike the Malaysian NiV outbreak, outbreaks occur almost annually in Bangladesh and have been reported several times in India.’
  • On 19 May 2018, a Nipah virus disease (NiV) outbreak was reported from Kozhikode district of Kerala, India. This is the first NiV outbreak in South India. There have been 17 deaths and 18 confirmed cases as of 1 June 2018. The two affected districts are Kozhikode and Mallapuram.

Symptoms of Nipah virus

  • Human nipah is caused by infection of the virus, acute respiratory infection (light, severe), and malignant encephalitis. Infected people develop symptoms such as fever, headache, myalgia (muscular pain), vomiting and throat influenza.
  • After this there may be dizziness, drowsiness, replacement consciousness, and neurological symptoms that indicate acute encephalitis. Some people may also experience pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress (trouble breathing).
  • Encephalitis and seizures occur in serious cases in which a person can go to coma within 24 to 48 hours.

Incubation period of Nipah virus

It is believed that incubation period (from the beginning of the symptom to the end of the infection) is between 4-14 days. However, an incubation period of 45 days has been reported.

One can be perfectly cured by a Nipah virus

  • Most people who avoid acute encephalitis become completely healthy, but long-term neurological conditions have been reported in the survivors. Approximately 20% of patients have been seen with residual neurological consequences such as seizure disorder and personality changes.
  • The fatal rate of the case is estimated to be 40% to 75%; However, depending on local capabilities for epidemiological monitoring and diagnostic management, this rate may vary from outbreak.

Napa Virus Check

Early signs and symptoms of Nipah virus (NIV) infection do not appear and often there is no doubt about it. This can hinder the precise diagnosis.

Major tests of Nipah virus include:

  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay
  • Virus isolation by cell culture

Treatment of Nipah Virus

There is currently no drug or vaccine for infection with NPA. Intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and nerve related complications.

Nipah Virus Rescue

  • The only way to reduce the risk of infection in people is to increase awareness about risk factors and to educate people who can do it to reduce and reduce infection by NPA virus.
  • Efforts to prevent infection with napa virus should first be given to reduce the penetration of bats to fresh food products. With protective coverings, fruit can be useful to keep the bats away. The freshly collected juice should be boiled before use and the fruits should be thoroughly washed and peeled before eating.
  • Avoid unprotected physical contact with people infected with napa virus. Care should be taken regularly after the care of sick people or after traveling.

Sources :

Center of disease control and prevention 


Surveillance and outbreak alert 

Business Standard 

June 18, 2019

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