Nipah Virus – What Nurses Needs to Know?

Nipah Virus Cause Infection Prevention - 1Widespread rumours have been spreading in the name of Nipah Virus Infection. As nurses, we need to know the legitimate truth behind. This article throws an insight about Nipah Virus Infection. Article has been prepared from various articles prepared by field experts including WHO website.

NIPAH Virus – History, Cause, Transmission, Treatment and Prevention

Nipah virus infection is an emerging zoonosis which causing severe disease in both animals and humans, natural hosts of virus being fruit bats of Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

Nipah Virus was first found during the outbreak of disease in “Kampung Sungai Nipah”, Malaysia in 1998. During that time, pigs acted as intermediate hosts. In subsequent outbreaks there were no intermediate hosts. Infection in pigs lead to widespread killing of pigs as method of prevention, causing a loss of 8000 crore pork buiseness.

Human infection with Nipah Virus started in Bangladesh in the year, 2004. Human infection with Nipah Virus was the result of consuming date palm sap cantaminated with infected fruit bats.

Now, more than 3 cases of Nipah Virus infection has been identified in some districts of Kerala. It even take life of a nurse working in a taluk hospital who got infected while treating a patient. Widespread fear has arised after hearing the news that her body was electrified by the government itself, without giving to relatives. In this regard, its important for nurses to know about nipah virus, the associated symptoms, treatment methodology and prevention strategies.

What is Nipah Virus?

Nipah Virus is a RNA virus of Paramixoveridae family.

Symptoms of Nipah Virus Infection

– Fever

– Head Ache

– Drowsiness

– Disorientation

– Mental Confusion

– Coma

– Potentially Death

After exposure and incubation period of 5 – 14 days, illness presents with 3 – 14 of fever and head ache followed by other symptoms.

There are chances for the patient to get into a coma immediately after showing the disease symptoms. Encephelitis chances are also very high.

How Nipah Virus is identified?

Nipah Virus can be identified by examining body fluids like fluids from nose, blood, urine or CSF using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Confirmation of Nipah Virus can be done by ELISA test.

As the treatment options of the Nipah Virus Infection is poor, prevention is more important.

How to prevent Nipah Virus infection from Bats to Humans?

Nipah Virus Infection arises when infected faeces of Bats, reaches the human stomach. For eg. if you drink Toddy which is collected in open vessels from palm trees. There is chances of bats passing motion in those vessels in turn causing the disease. Don’t eat fruits like guava, mangos etc scratched or eaten by bats.

Nipah Virus Prevention Strategy

How to prevent disease transmission from an infected individual?

Hand washing soon after touching the patient. Keep a minimum distance of 1 meter from the patient. Keep the personal belongings of patient seperate and wash clothes seperately.

What Hospitals can do to prevent Nipah infection from becoming an epidemic?

– Keep all the patients diagnosed with Nipah virus in a separate ward (isolation)

– Take universal precautions like N95 masks and suits while mingling with patients at risk of developing Nipah Virus infection.

Sterilization and disinfection advise

– Chlorhexidine or alcohol based disinfectants like Savlon should be used for hand washing while treating Nipah virus patients.

– Autoclaving or 2 % Gluteraldehyde usage for sterilization/disenfection of equipments used.

– Use disposable materials as far as possible.

How to prevent disease spread from dead body to other humans?

Take care not to touch the face of he body (For eg. kissing, touching cheeks etc) as well as no contact should be made with any of the body fluids.

Extreme care should be taken while handling the body.

Clothes, utensils and other personal belongings should be washed with detergent or soap and dried in sunlight before reusing.

Nipah virus transmission cycle

What you can do to prevent spreading of rumors about Nipah Virus Infection?

Don’t fear the disease. As a responsible citizen you can involve in active prevention strategies. Don’t share anything that is not providing scientific explanation. For eg. messages spreading through whatsapp. Always confirm with a medical person before arriving at conclusions.Follow the instructions given by health department.


No specific treatment available, primary treatment is intensive supportive care.

More Information at 

In Malayalam – Click Here

In English – NIPAH virus English Booklet

Article Sources 

  • Infoclinic FB page
  • WHO Website
  • Times of India Website

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May 22nd, 2018 by
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