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Nipah Virus: Causes Symptoms and Cure

Nipah virus is a zoonotic pathogen which is a virus that is transmitted to humans from animals. This virus was first detected in Sungai, Nipah Malaysia in 1998 where pigs were the major hosts.

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Nipah virus is a zoonotic pathogen which is a virus that is transmitted to humans from animals. This virus was first detected in Sungai, Nipah Malaysia in 1998 where pigs were the major hosts. People in Bangladesh contracted this virus in 2008 by consuming raw fruits such as raw date palms contaminated by the saliva of bats.

Nipah virus first emerged in Siliguri (2001) and in Nadia district (2007). This has recently been identified in Kerela with the death of ten people and is spreading with human to human contact. This virus might have a negative impact on India’s fruit export market.  The commerce minister said that a close monitoring is being done about the spread of this virus.

“We are keeping an eye on the developments. If the situation persists, we may have to ask our agencies to do a formal assessment of whether this will hurt India’s export potential” the commerce minister said.

 “It is one of the deadliest viruses” said by Dr Jon Epstein an epidemiologist from Eco health alliance.  “This is a virus that when it gets into people, in Bangladesh, it kills them on average three quarters of the time and in some case 100 percent of the time” Dr. Jon said.

This virus can remain in the body for a lot of years as reported by centres for disease control and prevention.

“It is not possible or desirable to kill the bats that can spread Nipah and Hendra. They are really important animals. They spread seeds and pollinate flowers. They are responsible for 50 percent of the world’s rainforest “Dr. Jon reported.

Causes of the Nipah virus:

The major carriers of this virus are pigs and fruit bats according to World Health Organization. According to epidemiologists, this virus has spread since bats have lost their habitat.

Symptoms of Nipah virus:

The virus firstly would cause the inflammation of the brain. A headache and severe fever would continue for 5-14 days. Rest of the symptoms includes drowsiness, confusion, respiratory illness, stiff neck and a prolonged exposure to this virus can also lead to coma and death. Patients have also experienced the low level of consciousness and a dysfunction of the brain stem. There are several neurological symptoms as well.


The diagnosis should be made by real-time polymerase chain reaction from the throat, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and blood. Detection of antibodies by ELISA can be used when the disease enters the severe stage.


There is no treatment or vaccine available for preventing this virus either for human beings or animals. However several precautions can definitely be taken.  Protective clothes such as gloves should be worn while handling sick animals. Protective clothing should also be worn while slaughtering an animal. Freshly collected date palm juice should not be consumed and fruits have to wash thoroughly and peeled before consumption.

Close contact with humans affected with this virus should be avoided and protective clothing has to be worn while taking care of sick people. Regular bathing and washing of hands are also advisable. Use netting on containers while collecting date palm saps. Also, use masks and similar things while travelling in public places.

Overall maintaining a good personal hygiene is important along with a distance from sick animals specifically pigs and their excreta.

Having discussed the causes symptoms and cure of this virus, it is hoped that the readers would be vigilant and take care of themselves and the people around them. Seek immediate help if detected with this virus.

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