Nipah Virus Outbreaks: What You Need to Know 

Posted on : September 15, 2023 by Clinic One on Blog

Emerging infectious diseases have captured global interest in recent years, and the Nipah virus stands out as a lethal and puzzling contamination.

Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus that can spread from animals to humans, causing serious sickness and even death.

This blog tries to offer a thorough description of the Nipah virus, including its history, transmission, signs, treatment, and prevention measures.


Nipah Virus is a zoonotic virus that can be spread from animals to humans. It spreads mainly through fruit bats (also called flying foxes), but it can also spread through other animals like pigs.

Nipah virus (NiV) was discovered in 1999 after a disease outbreak in Malaysia and Singapore in pigs and humans. This outbreak resulted in approximately 300 human cases and over 100 deaths, as well as a significant economic impact as more than 1 million pigs were killed to help manage the disease.  

Nipah virus belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family and is classified as a Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) agent due to its high potential for causing severe disease. This virus is rapidly spreading in Kerala and Karnataka, India, and it has the potential to be more serious. 

Risk Factors

  • Interacting with bats, pigs, and humans with a known infection.
  • Visiting countries with known outbreaks or recently caring for a person or animal with the virus.

Mode of transmission

  • People or animals who have contact with the bodily fluids (blood, poop, pee, or saliva) of an infected animal. 
  • Consuming foods that have been contaminated by an infected animal, such as fruits or raw date palm sap. 
  • Close contact with a person infected with the Nipah virus or their body fluids, such as respiratory droplets, urine, or blood. 
  • According to WHO, Human-to-human transmission of the Nipah virus has also been reported among family members and caregivers of infected patients, mainly in Bangladesh and India, making it a public health concern.

Signs and symptoms

Nipah virus (NiV) infection can cause mild to severe disease, including brain swelling (encephalitis) and death. Symptoms usually emerge 4-14 days after being exposed to the virus. 

Initially, symptoms may include one or more of the following: 

  • Fever 
  • Headaches  
  • Myalgia (muscle pain) 
  • Vomiting 
  • Sore throat 
  • Breathing difficulties 

Severe symptoms may occur, including:

  • Disorientation, drowsiness, or confusion 
  • Seizures 
  • Coma 
  • Brain swelling (encephalitis) 

Atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory difficulties, including acute respiratory distress, can also occur in some people. Seizures and encephalitis occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours. The case mortality rate is estimated to be between 40% and 75%. 


  • Practice handwashing regularly with soap and water. 
  • Avoid contact with sick bats or pigs. 
  • Likewise, avoid areas where bats are known to roost (places where birds rest or sleep). 
  • Avoid eating or drinking things that may have been contaminated by bats, such as raw date palm sap, raw fruit, or fruit that is found on the ground. 
  • Avoid contact with the blood or bodily fluids of anyone who has been diagnosed with NiV. 
  • Samples collected from individuals and animals suspected of having the virus infection should be handled by trained staff working in properly equipped laboratories. 


According to the CDC currently, there are no licensed treatments available for Nipah virus (NiV) infection. Treatment is limited to supportive and preventive care, including proper rest, hydration, and symptomatic treatment as they occur.


In conclusion, Nipah virus is a risky and mysterious pathogen that can spread from animals to people, causing severe infection or even loss of life.

While developments have been made in information and controlling the virus, demanding situations remain.

Preventing Nipah virus contamination requires avoiding contact with infected animals, practicing safe hygiene, and following recommended precautions. It is vital for all, especially those in affected areas, to stay informed and take the necessary precautions. 


Do people survive the Nipah virus? 

Yes, people survive the Nipah virus. But about 40% to 75% of people who get the infection die from it. This rate varies depending on the countries’ abilities to detect and manage the virus.
Similarly, symptoms may range from a slight fever and headache to a brain infection that results in death.

Is there a vaccine for Nipah virus? 

There is currently no vaccine available for this virus. 

Key Points to remember: 

  • Nipah Virus is a zoonotic virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans. 
  • Fruit bats, also known as flying foxes, are considered the natural reservoir of the virus.
  • Humans can contract the virus through direct contact with infected animals or their secretions. 
  • Human-human transmission is reported in many places. 
  • Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle pain, and can progress to encephalitis.  
  • There is currently no vaccine available.  
  • Symptomatic treatment and control measures can reduce the severity.  


Nipah virus. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2023, from 

What Is nipah virus? (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved September 15, 2023, from 

What is Nipah Virus? | Nipah Virus (NiV) | CDC. (2020, October 30). 

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