December 2, 2021

Nipah Virus: What Is It? Understand the signs and symptoms, as well as how to prevent yourself

4 min read

In India, a fresh epidemic of a deadly virus is headlining, but COVID-19 is not there. With the increase of COVID-19 cases in India, Nipah, the unique virus found by the late 1990s, which kills at least 40% of people infected, is alarmed by health experts. On Sunday a 12-year-old kid died of Nipah Virus in southern Kerala, forcing officers to get in touch with tracing information and isolating anyone who could have contacted him.

What is the Nipah virus exactly?

Nipah virus (NiV) is an animal-to-human zoonotic virus that can also be spread via or between humans through contaminated foods. In humans infected, it produces a spectrum of disorders from asymptomatic (subclinical) infections to deadly encephalitis and severe respiratory disorder. In animals, such as pigs, the virus may also cause serious diseases and huge economic losses for producers.

History of the Nipah Virus:

In 1999, after an outbreak in Malaysia, the Nipah virus was initially found. The 1999 outbreak resulted in about 300 human cases and over 100 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Singapore also suffered from this pandemic. It was found in Malaysia for the first time in 1999 after an outbreak. The 1999 outbreak resulted in about 300 human cases and over 100 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Singapore also suffered from this pandemic.

How it can be transmitted?

According to the World Health Organisation, fruit bats commonly called “flying foxes” are intermediate hosts to the Nipah virus. The virus can be transferred through human contact, from animals to humans, mainly bats or pigs. Household animals, including horses, dogs and cats, are also able to caught and transmit the sickness, but a virus that may spread the virus to men who get into contact with their body fluids or tissues is considered extremely contagious among swine. The fatal infection can also be spread through close human contact – the virus can move from an infected person’s bodily fluids to their relatives or carers.

Nipah virus symptoms:

Nipah virus symptoms range from moderate to severe. Infected people may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

Symptoms such as fever, headaches, muscle aches, vomiting, and sore throat are initially developed. Dizziness, somnolence, altered consciousness and neurological evidence can be

followed, indicating acute encephalitis. Some patients may also have atypical pneumonia and severe breathing issues, including acute. Encephalitis and convulsions happen within 24 to 48 hours in severe cases. Seizures, which can lead to a coma, and personality changes have also been described as side effects.

What are the test methods?

The first signs and symptoms of the Nipah virus are unspecific, hence a diagnosis at presentation is often not suspected. This can hamper correct diagnosis and create problems for outbreak identification, effective and timely control of infections and outbreak response. However, throughout the acute and convalescent stages of the disease, Nipah virus infection can be detected with clinical history. The major tests employed include a real-time reaction to polymerase chain (RT-PCR) by enzyme-connected immunosorbent assays on body fluids and antibodies (ELISA). Other tests used include the tests for polymerase chains (PCR) and cell culture isolation of the virus.

How to stay safe and sound against the Nipah virus?

Currently, there is no vaccine available for the Nipah virus. All precautions should be made to avoid the spread of the disease during a potential epidemic. Choose fresh fruits with care. If you’re collecting fruits from a farm, any fruit with symptoms of bat bites should be rejected. Use safety equipment such as gloves and masks when working with sick animals. Pigs and bats should never be approached. If you’re going somewhere where bats are known to roost, stay away. In places where there is a probable outbreak of Nipah virus-positive cases, avoid regular contact with infectious people. When you come into contact with someone who has symptoms, wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

The WHO noted that the Nipah virus death rate is estimated to be 40% to 75%. Health personnel caring for or handling specimens of suspected or proven infections should always take routine precautions against infection control.

What distinguishes the Nipah virus from the Coronavirus?

Based on an evaluation of the global virus network, it is determined that 0.43 was estimated for R0 (R Naught) of the Nipah virus.

R0 is a mathematical term that quantifies the average number of new infections that one infected person can produce in a population otherwise naive. R0 has to be greater than 1 (>1) if an infection is to be transmitted throughout a population. If R0 is less than 1, the fatality rate is between 45 and 70%, based on evaluations from the earlier Nipah outbreak in Kerala, which killed 17 out of the 19 individuals afflicted. Covid’s R0 is, on the other hand, significantly variable and several times above the 1% mark in India and abroad. It is therefore very transmissible.


The return of infectious diseases like Nipah indicates the necessity to strengthen not only the state of Kerala but the entire country’s disease monitoring network to prevent future outbreaks. It takes an hour to discover an epidemic starting to minimize damage to an active disease surveillance programme

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