Transmission of human infection with Nipah virus

Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Dec 1;49(11):1743-8. doi: 10.1086/647951.


Nipah virus (NiV) is a paramyxovirus whose reservoir host is fruit bats of the genus Pteropus. Occasionally the virus is introduced into human populations and causes severe illness characterized by encephalitis or respiratory disease. The first outbreak of NiV was recognized in Malaysia, but 8 outbreaks have been reported from Bangladesh since 2001. The primary pathways of transmission from bats to people in Bangladesh are through contamination of raw date palm sap by bats with subsequent consumption by humans and through infection of domestic animals (cattle, pigs, and goats), presumably from consumption of food contaminated with bat saliva or urine with subsequent transmission to people. Approximately one-half of recognized Nipah case patients in Bangladesh developed their disease following person-to-person transmission of the virus. Efforts to prevent transmission should focus on decreasing bat access to date palm sap and reducing family members' and friends' exposure to infected patients' saliva.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Chiroptera / virology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Geography
  • Henipavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Henipavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Henipavirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Nipah Virus / physiology*