What is a Nipah Virus?

Nipah Virus

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. On this occasion, pigs were the intermediate hosts. However, in subsequent NiV outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India.

NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to the acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

Nipah Virus Illustrate

What is happening in the current outbreak?

The outbreak is taking place in Kerala, a southern state in India. So far, 10 deaths have been reported, and there are currently at least nine other people who have tested positive for the virus and are quarantined. Multiple people who came into contact with the sick individuals are also under surveillance. Experts speculate that the ongoing outbreak was initially spread by bats.

2001:                                                                                2011:
Siliguri(West Bengal, India)                                     Bangladesh
Affected-65                                                                   Affected:65
Dead -45                                                                        Dead: 50

Nipah Virus


• Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Fainting
• Some may show symptoms of epilepsy
• Symptoms last for 10-12 days
• Drowsy, Confusion
• Symptoms progress to coma

How does it spread?

• From fruit bats(infected) to animals through bites
• From animal to other animals through fluids
• From bats to humans( if one takes fruits bitten by bats)
• From animals to human through body fluids
• From human to human through body fluid


• Do not eat fruits bitten by birds and animals.
• Wash hands properly after contacting infected people.
• Wear mask and gloves while tending to patients
• Do not drink toddy collected from areas where bats are found in large numbers.

Source: WHO
Content By: Dr. Suman Neupane, Dr. Suyesh Karki, and Dr. Mohan Bhandari

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