Nipah virus disease

The Nipah virus is zoonotic causing respiratory disease in pigs and mild to severe symptoms or even death in humans.

Alternative names: paramyxovirus


This new disease first appeared in September of 1998 in Malaysia. In March of 1999, a previously unknown virus was isolated from an adult man who died after having been in contact with pigs. The virus was identified as an unknown paramyxovirus and the disease was named Nipah disease, named after the town in Malaysia where it was first identified.

The virus causes disease and mortality, both in humans and pigs. In humans, the symptoms can be mild or severe, and include fever, headache, encephalitis, drowsiness, confusion, coma, and respiratory failure.  Mortality rate is high- up to 40%. Some people do not present symptoms. The incubation period is 7 to 21 days. In 1999, there were more than 300 cases and 100 deaths.



All ages

  • High fever.
  • Generally high morbidity but low mortality.
  • Fast and labored breathing.
  • Severe cough.
  • Convulsions, death.



  • In the post-mortem examination the predominant sign is the consolidation of the lungs.
  • The diagnosis is made by serological testing, virus isolation and identification. On infected farms, high levels of antibodies are detected in the sows. In affected zones, antibodies were detected in dogs but not in rats.



  • There is no effective treatment.
  • Because of its zoonotic risk and severity in humans, affected animals are culled.
  • Depopulation of infected farms.

Atlas of pathology

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