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Nipah virus outbreak with person-to-person transmission in a district of Bangladesh, 2007

  • N. HOMAIRA (a1) (a2), M. RAHMAN (a1), M. J. HOSSAIN (a2), J. H. EPSTEIN (a3) (a4), R. SULTANA (a2), M. S. U. KHAN (a2), G. PODDER (a2), K. NAHAR (a2), B. AHMED (a1), E. S. GURLEY (a2), P. DASZAK (a4), W. I. LIPKIN (a5), P. E. ROLLIN (a6), J. A. COMER (a6), T. G. KSIAZEK (a6) (a7) and S. P. LUBY (a2) (a6)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 12 April 2010

In February 2007 an outbreak of Nipah virus (NiV) encephalitis in Thakurgaon District of northwest Bangladesh affected seven people, three of whom died. All subsequent cases developed illness 7–14 days after close physical contact with the index case while he was ill. Cases were more likely than controls to have been in the same room (100% vs. 9·5%, OR undefined, P<0·001) and to have touched him (83% vs. 0%, OR undefined, P<0·001). Although the source of infection for the index case was not identified, 50% of Pteropus bats sampled from near the outbreak area 1 month after the outbreak had antibodies to NiV confirming the presence of the virus in the area. The outbreak was spread by person-to-person transmission. Risk of NiV infection in family caregivers highlights the need for infection control practices to limit transmission of potentially infectious body secretions.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr N. Homaira, Programme on Infectious Disease and Vaccine Sciences, Health System and Infectious Disease Division, ICDDR,B, 68, Shahid Tajuddin Ahmed Sharani, Mohakhali, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh. (Email:
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1.VP Hsu , Nipah virus encephalitis reemergence, Bangladesh. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2004; 10: 20822087.

2.ES Gurley , Person-to-person transmission of Nipah virus in a Bangladeshi community. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2007; 13: 10311037.

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5.JH Epstein , Henipavirus infection in fruit bats (Pteropus giganteus), India. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2008; 14: 13091311.

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9.BH Harcourt , Genetic characterization of Nipah virus, Bangladesh, 2004. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2005; 11: 15941597.

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12.UD Parashar , Case-control study of risk factors for human infection with a new zoonotic paramyxovirus, Nipah virus, during a 1998–1999 outbreak of severe encephalitis in Malaysia. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2000; 181: 17551759.

16.KB Chua . Nipah virus outbreak in Malaysia. Journal of Clinical Virology 2003; 26: 265275.

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