Nipah virus Highlights and Important information

Nipah virus

• Nipah virus infection in humans causes asymptomatic infection (subclinical) to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis.

• Fatality rate (approx.) 40 – 75 %. • Transmitted from o animals (bats or pigs), o contaminated foods o Human to human

• Natural host Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family.

• Vaccine – Not available.

• Treatment: supportive. Outbreaks

• First recognized in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in, Malaysia.

• Bangladesh in 2001, followed by nearly annual outbreaks.

• Periodically identified in eastern India (Siliguri, India in 2001).

• Regions at risk: Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Madagascar, Philippines, and Thailand. Transmission

• Direct contact with sick pigs or their contaminated tissues; via unprotected exposure to secretions from the pigs, or unprotected contact with the tissue of a sick animal.

• Consumption of fruits or fruit products (such as raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats.

• Human to human transmission among family and care givers of infected patients.

• Through close contact with people’s secretions and excretions. Signs and symptoms

• It ranges from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis.

• Infected people initially develop o influenza-like symptoms of fever, o headaches, o myalgia (muscle pain), o vomiting, o sore throat.

• This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.

• Atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress.

• Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.

• Incubation period (interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) range from 4 to 14 days. (Can be as long as 45 days)

• Survivor from acute encephalitis gets full recovery, but long term neurologic conditions (seizure disorder, personality changes, relapse or delayed onset encephalitis) may occur.

• Fatality rate: 40 – 75 %.



• The main tests used are o Real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from bodily fluids and

o Antibody detection via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

o Virus isolation by cell culture.



• Treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.

• Other supportive care.

Natural host:

fruit bats • Fruit bats of the family Pteropodidae – particularly species belonging to the Pteropus genus.

Nipah virus in domestic animals

• Nipah virus can transmitted in pigs and other domestic animals such as horses, goats, sheep, cats and dogs.

• The virus is highly contagious in pigs. Pigs are infectious during the incubation period, which lasts from 4 to 14 days.

• An infected pig can exhibit no symptoms, but some develop acute feverish illness, labored breathing, and neurological symptoms such as trembling, twitching and muscle spasms.

• Mortality is low except in young piglets.

• Nipah virus should be suspected if pigs also have an unusual barking cough or if human cases of encephalitis are present.



• Controlling Nipah virus in pigs.

• No vaccines available against Nipah virus.

• Routine and thorough cleaning and disinfection of pig farms with appropriate detergents may be effective in preventing infection.

• During outbreak; the animal premises should be quarantined immediately.

• Culling of infected animals – with close supervision of burial or incineration of carcasses.

• Restricting or banning the movement of animals from infected farms to other areas can reduce the spread of the disease.



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