Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans.
The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. On this occasion, pigs were the intermediate hosts. However, in subsequent NiV outbreaks, there were no intermediate hosts.
In Bangladesh in 2004, humans became infected with NiV as a result of consuming date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats.
NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. Nipah virus is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals.
Preventive measures of Nipah virus
Nipah virus can be prevented by avoiding exposure to sick pigs and bats in areas where the infection is endemic. The infection can be prevented by not consuming fruits which have fallen off from trees and not drinking sap of raw date palms.