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Antiviral Res. 2013 Oct;100(1):38-43. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.07.011. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

The pandemic potential of Nipah virus.

Author information

  • 1Woods Institute of the Environment, Stanford University, Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, Room 231, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305, United States. Electronic address: sluby@stanford.edu.

Abstract

Nipah virus, a paramyxovirus whose wildlife reservoir is Pteropus bats, was first discovered in a large outbreak of acute encephalitis in Malaysia in 1998 among persons who had contact with sick pigs. Apparently, one or more pigs was infected from bats, and the virus then spread efficiently from pig to pig, then from pigs to people. Nipah virus outbreaks have been recognized nearly every year in Bangladesh since 2001 and occasionally in neighboring India. Outbreaks in Bangladesh and India have been characterized by frequent person-to-person transmission and the death of over 70% of infected people. Characteristics of Nipah virus that increase its risk of becoming a global pandemic include: humans are already susceptible; many strains are capable of limited person-to-person transmission; as an RNA virus, it has an exceptionally high rate of mutation: and that if a human-adapted strain were to infect communities in South Asia, high population densities and global interconnectedness would rapidly spread the infection. Appropriate steps to estimate and manage this risk include studies to explore the molecular and genetic basis of respiratory transmission of henipaviruses, improved surveillance for human infections, support from high-income countries to reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission of infectious agents in low-income health care settings, and consideration of vaccination in communities at ongoing risk of exposure to the secretions and excretions of Pteropus bats.

KEYWORDS:

Chiroptera; Henipavirus; Nipah virus; Nosocomial transmission; Pandemics; Zoonosis

PMID:
23911335
DOI:
10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.07.011
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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