Nipah virus: What you must know concerning the lethal virus that is emerged in India?


A brand new outbreak of a lethal virus in India is making headlines — however it’s not COVID-19.

Amid the rise of COVID-19 instances in India, well being officers are on alert for instances of Nipah, a uncommon virus first recognized within the late Nineteen Nineties that kills at the very least 40 per cent of these it infects.

A 12-year-old boy died of Nipah virus within the southern Indian state of Kerala on Sunday, prompting officers to contact hint and isolate anybody who might have come into contact with him.

However what’s Nipah virus, and will we be anxious about it in Canada?


Based on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, Nipah virus was first detected in 1999 in Malaysia and Singapore. This preliminary outbreak concerned 300 human instances, however pigs had been additionally affected. Greater than 100 folks died, and multiple million pigs had been killed in an effort to curb the unfold of the illness.

Outbreaks have occurred in different elements of Asia since, largely in Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh has had near-annual outbreaks since 2001, in response to the World Well being Group (WHO).


Nipah is a zoonotic virus, that means its preliminary transmission is to people from animals, which on this case had been fruit bats. The virus may also infect pigs that may then switch the virus to people.

Throughout outbreaks, there was person-to-person unfold, which will increase the chance of bigger outbreaks. Based on the WHO, it will also be unfold by way of contaminated meals.

In the course of the preliminary outbreak in Malaysia, most sufferers contracted the virus by way of contact with contaminated pigs or their tissue. In different outbreaks in Bangladesh, scientists consider that consuming fruit merchandise contaminated with fluids from contaminated fruit bats, resembling uncooked date palm juice, prompted the infections in people.

Contact with contaminated people’ bodily fluids and excrement may also unfold the virus straight between folks. Numerous human-to-human unfold of the illness has been amongst well being care employees catching the virus whereas caring for sufferers.


Based on the WHO, Nipah virus might be troublesome to diagnose on account of some sufferers having few signs, and others having “nonspecific” signs.

Well being Canada states that there could be a vary of signs in those that are symptomatic, starting from gentle to extreme.

Flu-like signs are inclined to emerge first, together with fever, vomiting, complications, sore throat and muscle ache. Afterwards, sufferers can expertise extra severe neurological signs as effectively, together with dizziness, altered consciousness, and signs indicating a swelling of the mind.

“Mind swelling and seizures happen in extreme instances, progressing to coma inside 24 to 48 hours,” Well being Canada explains.

Well being Canada advises folks to go to a health-care skilled instantly if they’ve travelled to an space the place Nipah virus is current and consider they’ve signs or have come into contact with somebody who’s contaminated.

There isn’t any vaccine or therapy for Nipah, however accessing supportive medical care as rapidly as doable will increase the probabilities for restoration.


Nipah virus seems to be considerably extra lethal than COVID-19.

Whereas the case fatality fee for COVID-19 — the confirmed instances versus confirmed deaths — has fluctuated wildly relying on international locations and outbreaks, hovering to 17 per cent in China early within the pandemic, it at present stands at 1.7 per cent in Canada.

Based on the WHO, the case fatality fee for Nipah virus is estimated to be 40 per cent to 75 per cent, a quantity that varies relying on “native capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and medical administration.”

Nonetheless, this could imply that it is tougher for Nipah virus to unfold so far as COVID-19 has. When a virus rapidly kills most of those that contract it, that leaves little time for the virus to contaminate others and unfold extensively, making its circle of devastation smaller and extra intense.


There are at present no instances of Nipah virus in Canada, and the one means it could get right here can be if an contaminated particular person travelled right here, or somebody visited an space with an outbreak, turned contaminated, after which travelled again to Canada.

With the world nonetheless cautious of worldwide journey because of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe, it is unlikely that Nipah virus will make its option to Canada, though this emphasizes the necessity for travellers to concentrate on the place outbreaks are and journey well being notices for points past simply COVID-19

In the long term, extra analysis must be performed on Nipah virus to develop therapies, WHO famous, including that they’d flagged it in 2018 as a subject that wanted extra consideration.

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