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Nipah virus disease

Nipah virus is an RNA virus. First Outbreak happened in 1998 and 1999 in Malaysia and Singapore. It showed respiratory illness in pigs and encephalitic disease in Human. Nipah virus targets pigs and disease can be mild to severe. Nipah virus infection in human causes Respiratory infection, Encephalitis and death. Virus is transmitted in humans through bats and pigs. It can be transmitted from an infected human also. Fruit bats are the natural host of Nipah Virus. There is no treatment or vaccine. Nipah Virus falls under priority disease of the World Health Organization. 

How to identify if you have Nipah Virus?

Common symptoms as told by patients are Asymptomatic, Fever, Headache, Muscle pain, Vomiting, Sore Throat, dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness. Signs like Acute Respiratory infection, Encephalitis, seizures and coma in severe cases.

How a doctor makes a diagnosis?

NiV infection can be diagnosed together with clinical history during the acute and recovering phase of the disease. Main tests including real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from bodily fluids as well as antibody detection via ELISA.  Different tests include:
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay
  • Virus isolation by cell culture.


There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific to NiV infection.  Intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.


  • Controlling Nipah virus in domestic animals:

Currently, there are no vaccines available against Nipah virus. Routine and thorough cleaning and disinfection of pig farms (with appropriate detergents) may be effective in preventing infection.If an outbreak is suspected, the animal premises should be quarantined immediately.

  • Reducing the risk of infection in people:

For now, The only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to and decrease infection from NiV.

Public health educational messages should focus on the following:

  • Reducing the risk of bat-to-human transmission: 

Efforts to prevent transmission should first focus on decreasing bat access to date palm sap and to other fresh food products. Keeping bats away from sap collection sites with protective coverings (e.g., bamboo sap skirts) may be helpful.Freshly collected date palm juice should be boiled and fruits should be thoroughly washed and peeled before consumption.

  • Reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission:

 Gloves and other protective clothing should be worn while handling sick animals or their tissues, and during slaughtering and culling procedures. As much as possible, people should avoid being in contact with infected pigs.

  • Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission: 

Close unprotected physical contact with Nipah virus-infected people should be avoided. Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people.

Controlling infection in health-care settings:

  • Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed NiV infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions for all patients at all times
  • As human-to-human transmission in particular nosocomial transmission have been reported, contact and droplet precautions should be used in addition to standard precautions.
  • Samples taken from people and animals with suspected NiV infection should be handled by trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories
Via – WHO
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