Nipah virus Infection
at a glance
Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus, for which the primary reservoirs are bats and pigs. Transmission can also occur through contaminated food or directly from person to person. It belongs to a family of viruses that also includes Hendra virus, another bat-borne virus that cause lethal infection in horses and humans. The natural hosts of the virus are Pteropus fruit bats, commonly known as flying foxes.
Nipah disease symptoms begin 5 to 14 days after infection and initially include fever, headaches, muscle pain, vomiting and sore throat. The disease then progresses rapidly, causing a combination of brain inflammation (encephalitis) and serious respiratory problems such as pneumonia. Patients who recover can suffer long-term neurological conditions, including seizures and personality changes. Initial diagnosis is difficult because the early signs and symptoms are non-specific.
Nipah virus was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of illness affecting pig farmers and others having close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore.
cases in Bangladesh between 2001-2015
Case fatality rate
in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Singapore, India and Philippines
people at risk
Nipah has caused only a few known outbreaks in South and Southeast Asia, the potential for much larger exposure is significant, since more than 2 billion people live in areas where Pteropus bats are found. There is a risk it could also be spread to areas where fruit bats do not live via transmission between people. Thus, Nipah virus has the biological potential to be a truly global threat. Nipah causes severe disease, with case fatality rates in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India of between 40% and 100%, being one of the deadliest viruses known to infect humans.