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Volume 25, Number 5—May 2019
Etymologia

Etymologia: Nipah Virus

Ronnie HenryComments to Author 

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Nipah Virus [neʹ-pə vīʹ-rəs]

Figure

Thumbnail of Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicullatus) feeding on nectar of unidentified flowers. The natural reservoir for Hendra virus is believed to be flying foxes (bats of the genus Pteropus) found in Australia. The natural reservoir for Nipah virus is still unknown, but preliminary data suggest that these bats are also reservoirs for Nipah virus in Malaysia. CDC/Brian W.J. Mahy.

Figure. Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicullatus) feeding on nectar of unidentified flowers. The natural reservoir for Hendra virus is believed to be flying foxes (bats of the genus Pteropus) found in Australia....

In 1994, a newly described virus, initially called equine morbillivirus, killed 13 horses and a trainer in Hendra, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia. The reservoir was subsequently identified as flying foxes (Figure), bats of the genus Pteropus (Greek pteron [“wing”] + pous [“foot”]). In 1999, scientists investigated reports of febrile encephalitis and respiratory illness among workers exposed to pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. (The pigs were believed to have consumed partially eaten fruit discarded by bats.)

The causative agent was determined to be closely related to Hendra virus and was later named for the Malaysian village of Kampung Sungai Nipah. The 2 viruses were combined into the genus Henipavirus, in the family Paramyxoviridae. Three additional species of Henipavirus—Cedar virus, Ghanaian bat virus, and Mojiang virus—have since been described, but none is known to cause human disease. Outbreaks of Nipah virus occur almost annually in India and Bangladesh, but Pteropus bats can be found throughout the tropics and subtropics, and henipaviruses have been isolated from them in Central and South America, Asia, Oceania, and East Africa.

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References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Hendra-like virus—Malaysia and Singapore, 1998–1999. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1999;48:2659.PubMed
  2. Selvey  LA, Wells  RM, McCormack  JG, Ansford  AJ, Murray  K, Rogers  RJ, et al. Infection of humans and horses by a newly described morbillivirus. Med J Aust. 1995;162:6425. DOI

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2505.et2505

Original Publication Date: 3/26/2019

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Table of Contents – Volume 25, Number 5—May 2019

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Ronnie Henry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E28, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA

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Page created: April 18, 2019
Page updated: April 18, 2019
Page reviewed: April 18, 2019
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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