Nipah Virus (NiV) Infection: Complete information- Outbreak in India Kills at Least 10

Date: May 22, 2018

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Why in News- 

10 people in India have died from a rare virus known as Nipah virus, according to news reports.The deaths occurred in Kerala, a state in southern India.

What is it- 

Nipah virus infection is an emerging disease that was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The virus is thought to naturally infect fruit bats (of the genus Pteropus), but it can also infect pigs and other domesticated animals, as well as humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus can also spread from person to person.

The disease was named after Kampung Sungai Nipah (Nipah River Village), where the first viral isolate was obtained and therefore named as “NiV”.

The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus (fruit-eating species, popularly known as flying foxes).



Nipah virus can cause an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and confusion. People who are infected with the virus may fall into a coma within 48 hours of showing symptoms.

The virus can be highly lethal, with an average fatality rate of around 75 percent, according to the WHO.

Human infections with Nipah virus in India and Bangladesh have been linked with eating raw date palm sap contaminated by fruit bats, and contact with bats.


There's no drug to treat the illness and no vaccine to prevent it.

What precautions to take?
Contact with bats saliva or urine either via a contaminated item (like palm sap or fruit dropped from a tree) or via animals contaminated by the virus (such as pigs or other livestock animals) or humans already infected with NiV are considered to be the prime reason for NiV infection.Thus these have to be avoided. It’s best to avoid areas that bats inhabitate.