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Nipah Virus
Health & Technology

Nipah Virus: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

NiV or Nipah virus is a zoonotic virus, which means that it may spread between people and animals. Fruit bats, also called flying foxes, are the animal’s reservoir for NiV in nature. Nipah virus is also called to cause illness in people and pigs. Infection with NiV is connected with encephalitis and may cause mild to acute illness and even death. Outbreaks happen almost annually in parts of Asia, generally India and Bangladesh.

It is possible to prevent contracting the Nipah virus by avoiding contact with sick bats and pigs in areas where the virus is present and avoiding drinking raw date palms, which can be contaminated by an infected bat.


Nipah virus of NiV infection can be identified during illness or after recovery. There are various tests available for the diagnosis of NiV infection. During the initial stages of the illness, laboratory testing can be done utilizing actual time polymerase chain reactions from nasal swabs and throat, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood. Later in the course of illness and during recovery, testing for antibodies is conducted utilizing an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)

The non-specific early signs of NiV infection can make an early diagnosis difficult. However, early diagnosis and detection are vital to enhancing the chances of survival among infected people, preventing spreading to other people, and handling outbreak response efforts.

NiV should be considered for those with signs consistent with NiV infection who have been in places where Nipah is more common, such as India or Bangladesh, mainly if they have a known exposure.


As of now, there are no approved treatments available for NiV (Nipah Virus) infection. Treatment is limited to supportive care, including hydration, rest, and treatment of symptoms as they happen.

There are, however, immunotherapeutic treatments that are recently under evaluation and development for treating NiV infections. After completing phase 1 clinical trials, one monoclonal antibody, m102.4, has been utilized compassionately. Furthermore, the antiviral treatment Remedesivir has been helpful in nonhuman primates when given as post-exposure prophylaxis and can be complementary to immunotherapeutic treatments. The drug ribavirin was utilized to treat a small number of patients in the first outbreak in Malaysia, but its efficacy in patients is unclear.


In places where NiV outbreaks have occurred (India, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Malaysia), people should-

  • Practice handwashing daily with clean water and soap
  • Avoid touching sick pigs or bats.
  • Avoid places where bats are known to hang around.
  • Avoid drinking or eating products that can be contaminated by bats, such as raw fruit, raw date palm sap, or fruit that is found on the ground.
  • Avoid contact with the body fluids or blood of any person known to be infected with NiV.

These are the few prevention tips that you may try to avoid NiV or Nipah.

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