Nipah virus


  • Nipah virus (NiV) infection is zoonotic disease (disease transmitted to humans from animals) that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
  • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
  • Fruit bats or flying foxes of Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus are natural host of Nipah virus.
  • The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
  • It was first identified in 1999 during outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore.
  • It gets its name from Sungai Nipah, a Malaysian village, where pig farmers became ill with encephalitis.
  • Transmission:
    • The virus spread fast and is mostly fatal.
    • Infected bats shed virus in their excretion and secretion.
    • The virus cannot be transmitted through air.
    • But it is transmitted through direct contact with infected bats, pigs.
    • Human to Human transmission from other NiV-infected people is also reported
  • Symptoms: 
    • NiV infection can cause acute respiratory syndrome, breathing trouble, inflammation of the brain, fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation and delirium.
    • Patient can slip into coma within 48 hours.
    • The mortality rate of patients infected with it is reportedly 70%.
    • It is capable of causing diseases in domestic animals too.
  • Treatment:
    • There is no vaccine for disease either for humans or animals.
    • The main treatment for those infected is intensive supportive care and supportive medicines.
    • In disease prone areas, fruits strewn on the ground should not be eaten, for safety.

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