Nipah Virus infection – Sign, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

Nipah Virus

This is a viral infection is a newly emerging zoonosis(a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals) that causes a severe disease known as Nipah virus infection (NiV) in both animals and humans caused by Nipah virus. But on 2018 up to now, there is no vaccine or specific treatment, but you can prevent it on special care. The latest outbreak on 2018  in India has so far affected mainly four districts of Kerala — Kozhikode, and its neighbouring districts of Malappuram, Kannur & Wayanad, and patient’s with sign & symptoms are noticed in other parts of India.

Nipah Virus
Nipah Virus

Nipah Virus infection & spread:

In the year of 1998 was first identified this virus at Malaysia & pigs were the intermediate hosts. In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with this virus as a result of consumption of contaminated fruits & raw date palm sap by infected fruit bats and that time Human-to-human transmission has also been documented. Nipah Virus is named after a village in Malaysia, Sungai Nipah. It is a type of RNA virus in the genus Henipavirus. Spread typically requires direct content through their secretions of saliva, urine & faeces with an infected source. The virus normally circulates among specific types of fruit bats.

Signs and symptoms:

  • The symptoms start to appear within 3–14 days after exposure. In some case, an incubation period of 45 days has also been reported.
  • Initial symptoms are fever, sore throat, headache, drowsiness,
  • Abdominal pain & vomiting can be seen
  • Later disorientation and mental confusion can be noticed
  • Respiratory illness can be noticed on early stage
  • It can progress into a coma within 24 to 48 hours
  • Encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, is the dreaded complication of Nipah virus infection.
  • Stiff Neck and Seizures can be noticed
  • It can also cause death


Diagnosis: Laboratory diagnosis of this infection is made using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, after collection of throat swabs, cerebrospinal fluid, urine and blood analysis during acute and convalescent stages of the disease. IgG and IgM antibody detection can be done after recovery to confirm Nipah virus infection. Immunohistochemistry on tissues collected during autopsy also confirms the disease. Viral RNA can be isolated from the saliva of infected persons.

Prevention: It is very important to prevent the disease because up to now there is no effective treatment is available.  

  • The infection can be prevented by avoiding exposure to bats and sick pigs.
  • Bats are known to drink toddy that is collected in open containers, and occasionally urinate in it, which makes it contaminated with the virus. Be aware of drinking of raw palm sap (palm toddy) contaminated by bat excrete.
  • It can spread through secretions of saliva, urine & faeces with an infected source. Be aware of taking fruits, don’t take partly eaten fruit.
  • Thoroughly wash and peel fruits before consuming
  • Avoid close (unprotected) physical contact with infected people. Avoid the transmission of the infection from person to person.
  • Wear NH95-grade and higher masks, Wash hands regularly with soap


Treatment: Currently there is no effective treatment for Nipah virus infection. The treatment is limited to supportive care. This infection should be isolated and given intensive supportive care. Ribavirin has been shown effective in vitro tests but has not yet been proven effective in humans.







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