Nipah Virus

What is Nipah Virus?

Nipah virus infection is a highly contagious, lethal disease that has been discovered in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and West Bengal, India.  A similar virus, called Hendra virus, was also discovered in Queensland, Australia.  Nipah virus is carried by fruit bats.

How do you get Nipah Virus?

In countries where palm sap is collected in jars placed in palm trees, infected bats contaminate the sap. Unboiled contaminated palm sap is frequently consumed by humans and can result in infection.  The virus can also spread directly from ill patients to caregivers. In other outbreaks, pigs become infected after eating contaminated half-eaten fruit dropped by the bats, and in turn, infect humans that consume the pork.

Susceptibility and Resistance

All people are susceptible. The level of immunity after surviving this disease is not known.  There have been some people who survived Nipah virus infection and have been re-infected.

Incubation Period

The incubation period for Nipah Virus is 5-7 days.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms begin with fever, sore throat, dizziness, drowsiness and disorientation that results from inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Symptoms may be mild or severe with coma and a mortality rate of up to 70 percent. Up to 20 percent of recovered patients have neurological defects.

Preventative Measures

Do not consume unboiled palm sap. In the countries where Nipah virus occurs, do not consume pork that is not well cooked.


There is no specific treatment for this infection. General care consists of managing the symptoms.

Where Does It Commonly Occur?

Nipah virus has been found in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and West Bengal, India.