Discuss the transmission, signs, treatment and control of NIPAH Virus Disease?

What is NIPAH virus?

  • Nipah Virus is a zoonotic virus-transmitted from animals to humans. Other examples include swine flu, bird flu
  • Nipah virus is highly infectious
  • The Nipah virus is a member of the genus Henipavirusin the family Paramyxoviridae
  • The virus is an RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus and mutates very fast
  • The disease was named after Kampung Sungai Nipah (Nipah River Village), Malaysia, where the first viral isolate was obtained
  • Closely related to Hendra virus
  • There is debate over whether the disease is air borne


  • Fruit bats (Pteropus), popularly known as flying foxes are natural reservoir hosts of Nipah Virus

Transmission:/ Direct contact with:

  • Infected Bats
  • Infected Pigs

Other NiV infected people:

  • Transmission through respiratory droplets, saliva, contact with infected tissues, other bodily secretions
  • Consumption of fruit or fruit products contaminated with urine or saliva of infected bats-Indirect transmission
  • The secondary wave of transmission occurs from human-human contact and is most challenging for health authorities to combat
  • Nipah virus infection generally has a stuttering chain of transmission-Once the virus moves from bats to humans; it generally spreads to people in close contact with the patients

Signs and Symptoms in Humans:

  • Infection associated with inflammation of brain
  • Initial symptoms include fever, headache, respiratory problem followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion
  • These could progress to coma and ultimately to death

Mortality rate:High; 40-75%

  • Long term effects in those who survive: persistent convulsions, personality changes
  • Latent infections with subsequent reactivation of Nipah virus and death have also been reported


  • Viral isolation from throat and nasal swabs, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and blood using Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)


  • No vaccine or antiviral drug available for either people or animals.
  • Intensive supportive care with treatment of symptoms is the main approach to managing the infection in people
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