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.
NiV 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. Human-to-human transmission has also been documented, including in a hospital setting in India. NiV infection in humans has a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis. NiV is also capable of causing disease in pigs and other domestic animals. There is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care. Nipah Virus was first recognized in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in, Malaysia. No new outbreaks have been reported in Malaysia since 1999.
It was also recognized in Bangladesh in 2001, and nearly annual outbreaks have occured in that country since. The disease has also been identified periodically in eastern India.
Other regions may be at risk for infection, as evidence of the virus has been found in the known natural reservoir ( Pteropus bat species) and several other bat species in a number of countries, including Combodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Madagascar, the Philippines, and Thailand.