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Human Nipah Virus (NiV) infection is a zoonotic disease, caused by highly pathogenic paramyxovirus which derives its name from “Sungai Nipah”, a village in the Malaysia where it was first identified in 1999.

Large fruit bats of Pteropus genus are the natural reservoir of NiV. Nipah cases tend to occur in a cluster or as an outbreak. Incubation period varies from 6-21 days. Transmission of Nipah virus to humans may occur after direct contact with infected bats or consuming food contaminated by bats’ secretions or infected pigs or from other Nipah virus infected people(There has been a circumstantial evidence of human-to-human transmission in India in 2001)


Real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from throat and nasal swabs, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and blood should be performed in the early stages of disease.

Antibody detection by ELISA (IgG and IgM) can be used later on.

In fatal cases, immunohistochemistry on tissues collected during autopsy may be the only way to confirm a diagnosis.

In India, testing facility is available at National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

Clinical features

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, and may worsen to include drowsiness, confusion, and coma.

In general, the case–fatality rate is estimated at 40–75%.



Currently there is no known specific treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals. However, Ribavirin, an antiviral may have a role in reducing mortality amongpatients with encephalitis. Intensive supportive care with treatment of symptoms is the main approach to managing the infection in people.

Posted On: 28/06/2019

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