Is the Nipah virus real or not

Nipah virus infection


The Nipah virus owes its name to its place of discovery "Nipah" in Malaysia. Here the pathogen was described for the first time in 1999 after several cases of illness among pig farmers. The virus comes from the Paramyxoviridae family and causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and severe respiratory infections.


At the end of the 1990s, there were numerous cases of infectious encephalitis in Malaysia and Singapore, in which the Nipah virus was detected as the causative agent for the first time. So far, twelve smaller Nipah outbreaks have been documented, including cases of illness in Bangladesh and India.


The virus is easily transmitted to humans through contact with pigs. Workers on pig farms and in slaughterhouses are the number 1 risk group. Human-to-human transmission is also possible. In the cases of illness that occurred in the 1990s, around half of those infected were infected by sick family members.

Fruit-feeding bats played a major role in the infections in Bangladesh and India. They are hosts of the Nipah virus, but do not get sick from it. The virus was transmitted to humans through bitten fruit or contamination with faeces containing pathogens. However, the exact transmission routes of the Nipah virus infection have not yet been precisely clarified. The incubation period in humans is less than two weeks.


The disease manifests itself with a high fever and flu-like symptoms. As the disease progresses, encephalitis as well as vertigo attacks, cramps, disorientation and clouding of consciousness appear. A coma can occur within a day or two. Every second sick person dies as a result of the Nipah virus infection. Sometimes the disease is milder. It is even possible to progress without any significant complaints. These initially asymptomatic patients can also develop encephalitis months later. Long-term consequences of the illness such as personality changes and epilepsy can occur.


The Nipah virus can be detected through a serological diagnosis, through the detection of antibodies in blood, serum or cerebrospinal fluid. Direct detection is possible by isolating the virus and using electron microscopy.

Treatment / therapy

There are still no really effective drugs in the fight against the Nipah virus. The symptoms can only be alleviated with medication; however, the cause of the disease cannot be combated directly. However, the administration of the antiviral agent ribavirin, which was able to reduce the mortality rate, brought success.


The transmission of the Nipah virus has not yet been clearly clarified. If you want to protect yourself from infection, you should not eat tree fruits that have animal bite marks on them. Tree fruit juices such as palm or date juices can also harbor the pathogen. Only heating to at least 70 degrees Celsius reliably kills the pathogens. In areas where there have been cases of illness, travelers should stay away from pig stables and slaughterhouses as much as possible. Overall, the risk of infection for travelers is extremely low.