What’s this?

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis (a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals) that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats.

Where was it first identified?

NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah (Reason for it’s name), Malaysia in 1998.

In 2004 in Bangladesh, humans became infected with Nipah Virus as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.

nipah final

Is Human to Human transmission possible?

Yes, Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India.

What are the Symptoms?

NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.

How is this disease is diagnosed?

NiV disease is difficult to diagnose based on clinical signs alone, however confirmation can be made through prescribed laboratory tests. Procedures for the laboratory diagnosis of Nipah virus infections include serology, histopathology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and virus isolation. The recommended initial screening tests are ELISA serology and immunohistochemistry, neither of which amplify infectious virus, and so are safer tests in the laboratory.

What are the chances of death?

Average case fatality rate is 74.5%. This means out of 100 infected about 74 patients may die.

Morbidity and mortality due to Nipah or Nipah-like virus encephalitis, South-East Asia Region, 2001-2012
Total Infected No. of Deaths Case fatality Rate
280 211 75%

Is there any Vaccine or Medicine available?

There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The epidemiology and sporadic nature of NiV outbreaks makes large scale, Phase III clinical trials difficult to plan to assure achieving meaningful efficacy results that would support licensure. Although research into development of vaccines has been ongoing in Australia and France.

Nipah Virus & Ribavarin

The drug ribavirin has been shown to be effective against the viruses in vitro, but the clinical usefulness of this drug is uncertain.A post-exposure therapy with a Nipah/Hendra neutralizing antibody, efficacious in animal models is in human preclinical development stages in Australia as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is the treatment Option?

The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

Latest Incident of Nipah Virus!

Latest incident has been reported in Kerala state of India where death toll due to Nipah Virus Infection has gone upto 10, including a nurse who was taking care of Nipah patients (latest stats when the article was published).

 

References:

http://www.searo.who.int/entity/emerging_diseases/links/nipah_virus_outbreaks_sear/en/

Setterfield BA et al. Status of vaccine research and development of vaccines for Nipah virus. Vaccine. Volume 34, Issue 26, 3 June 2016, Pages 2971-2975

https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/hendra/treatment/index.html

 

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