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What is Nipah Virus: Diagnosis, Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatments

Nipah Virus

Nipah virus means NiV is a newly born disease or infection that has been derived from a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus which is an RNA virus. It is the zoonosis which is transmitting from human to animal or animal to human. Henipavirus is an RNA virus whose natural host is fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus. Nipah virus is initially identified or isolated between 1998-1999 in Malaysia and Singapore during disease outbreaks among pig farmers and those who were in close contact with pigs. In Malaysia, there is a village named Sungai Nipah suggested its name because people with illness reported there first so the name was given as Nipah virus. A data according to CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), during 1999 outbreaks nearly about 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were inscribed. A further thing needed to be done by euthanized the pigs which caused a swift trade loss for Malaysia. But after this euthanization, no further cases of death were reported in that city.Nipah Virus, Causes of Nipah Virus, Diagnosis for Nipah Virus, Treatment for Nipah Virus


In Bangladesh in 2004, again cases were reported of infection with Nipah virus while people were consuming date palm according to WHO report. Now human to human transmission has been spreading all over the world and in 2018 hitting the door in India.


The communication of this infection may occur due to direct contact with fruits infected with fruit bats, contact with fruit bats, infected pigs, and infected persons. It is apparent that this infection first spread from bats to pigs and then human.  No person-to-person transmission was reported according to CDC. But from a Nipah virus infected person-to-person is possible.

Diagnosis for Nipah Virus

Diagnosis can be done by certain methods like:

  • Patient with clinical history of Nipah virus.
  • Isolation of virus by Using the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from nasal swabs, throat, urine, and blood in the early stages of the disease.
  • ELISA, later antibody detection test.
  • In lethal cases, tissues may be collected during autopsy to perform immunohistochemistry. 

Sign and Symptoms of Nipah Virus

Sign and symptoms are as follows:

  • A headache, fever, mental confusion, drowsiness, and disorientation.
  • Encephalitis means inflammation in the brain.
  • Persistent convulsions and personality changes.
  • Coma within 24-48 hrs., as the disease progresses.
  • Nervous illness and also can be death ultimately.

Risk factors for Nipah Virus

Nipah Virus, Causes of Nipah Virus, Diagnosis for Nipah Virus, Treatment for Nipah Virus

  • Close contact with illness infected person as a human to human transmission has been documented.
  • Contact with infected bats and pigs.
  • Consumption of raw date palm sap infected with bats.


There is no conclusive treatment or vaccine for either human and animal according to WHO. The primary care for this virus or infection is only supportive care although the drug ribavirin has been used for this illness in vitro and shown to be effective.  Still, the use of this drug is uncertain.

How to be safe

Prevention is always better than cure so of protecting yourself to get indulge into illness by :

  • Avoiding direct exposure to pigs and bats.
  • Avoid raw date palm sap especially, if the disease or illness is spreading.
  • Awareness about the particular disease and sign or symptoms.
  • According to CDC,  a vaccine using Hendra G protein has been used to protect the horses against Hendra virus in Australia offering great potential for human against henipavirus.
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