Nipah Virus Symptoms

Nipah virus disease emerged in the late 1998 in Malaysia. Both humans and animals can be affected by this novel paramyxovirus.

The virus is a microscopic infectious parasite that needs another living organism or host body for replication or reproduction. These parasites can infect all forms of living organisms like bacteria, plants, and animals. 

Moreover, a virus infection can spread between human to human, animal to human, etc. A zoonotic virus can transmit from animals to humans. Nipah virus disease is a zoonotic disease as it spreads from animals like bat, pig, etc. to humans.

Nipah Virus

The Nipah virus or NiV, a relatively new pathogen from the Paramyxoviridae family, can infect both animals and humans and cause fatal, rapid respiratory and neurologic disease. 

This virus is a member of the Henipavirus genus and related to Hendra virus, from a similar genus. Nipah virus has an enveloped and single-stranded RNA structure. The natural host of this virus is fruit bats.

Before entering the human body, pigs also work as the intermediate host of this virus. As per recent studies, Malaysian flying fox can also act a potential carrier of NiV. This virus can spread by contaminated foods and close contact between humans, such as via medical personnel or family members.

According to the WHO, the estimated fatality rate of this virus is 40% to 75%. However, the rate depends on the local capabilities of clinical management and epidemiological surveillance of the outbreak.

Signs and Symptoms of Nipah Virus

The infected host bodies start showing Nipah symptoms after 5-14 days of contact with the virus. This timeline is known as the incubation period. However, in some cases, the incubation period can go up to 45 days as well. 

After this incubation period, the initial Nipah virus symptoms resemble common flu signs. 

Some Common Signs and Symptoms are-

  • A mild to severe infection in the respiratory tract.

  • Moderate to high fever. Also, sometimes the symptoms of Nipah fever are chills and convulsion.

  • Acute pneumonia.

  • Stiffness and severe pain (myalgia) in muscle can also be a NiV symptom.

  • Sore throat.

  • Vomiting.

  • Dizziness and drowsiness.

  • Disorientation.

  • Mental confusion and altered consciousness.

  • Inflammation and swelling in the brain.

  • Seizures.

In the case of human infection, the Nipah virus shows various types of clinical presentations. Starting from subclinical asymptomatic infection, NiV in humans can cause acute respiratory distress and fatal encephalitis.

Any Nipah virus symptoms that show neurological signs can indicate acute encephalitis. As a result of acute encephalitis and recurrent seizures, infected individuals can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.

Diagnosis of Nipah Virus

The initial Nipah virus symptoms are nonspecific; thus, the accurate diagnosis is often challenging. Eventually, that affects the outbreak of the disease adversely, and effective infection control measures become compulsory.

During the acute phase of Nipah virus disease, the infection can be diagnosed by analysing the clinical history of the patient. The main diagnosis test is performed through Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR from the body fluid and detection of antibodies by ELISA, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay.

Other clinical tests for NiV infection include PCR or polymerase chain reaction assay, and isolation of virus by cell culture.

However, the efficiency of sample collection and transferring time can affect the accuracy of clinical tests.

Treatment of Nipah Virus

Presently, the Nipah virus cure vaccine or drugs are not available. As treatment for severe respiratory and neurological complications, doctors recommend intensive supportive care. 

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Symptoms of Nipah Virus?

Ans. The primary symptoms of the Nipah virus are similar to common flu such as fever, sore throat, muscle pain, drowsiness, and sometimes breathing problems as well. 

2. What is the Cause of Nipah Virus?

Ans. Nipah virus disease is caused by a zoonotic virus from the Paramyxoviridae family and Henipavirus genus. This virus can infect both humans and animals.

3. How are People Infected by the Nipah Virus?

Ans. Fruit bats are known as the natural host of NiV. Pigs are also carriers of this virus, and it can transmit from these intermediate hosts to humans. This infection can spread from contaminated food and infected humans to normal individuals with close contacts.