Two threats, one state. Kerala is dealing with two separate infections: an upsurge in coronavirus cases and a recent outbreak of the Nipah virus.

When a 12-year-old boy in Kerala’s northern Kozhikode district succumbed to Nipah, officials rushed to put in place containment measures to guarantee that the virus, which has a high death rate, is stopped in its track.


Here’s all you need to know about Nipah virus and how it is different from the novel Coronavirus.

The virus was isolated and named after a Malaysian village, Sungai Nipah, in 1999.

While Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that have crown-like thorns on their surface. The Latin word for crown is coronam.

Nipah is a zoonotic virus. Covid? No clue.

The Nipah virus is a zoonotic infection (an infectious disease that spreads from one species to another, such as from animals to humans or vice versa). The host of Nipah virus can be a pig, dogs, goats, cats, horses, and maybe sheep. The virus is assumed to be maintained in nature by “flying foxes” (a type of fruit bat).


But the origins of coronavirus are still unknown, even twenty months after the first case was diagnosed in Wuhan, China.


For Nipah, according to WHO, “Infected people initially develop symptoms that include fever, headaches, myalgia, vomiting and sore throat. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.”


On the flip side, Coronavirus affects different people in different ways, with the most common symptoms being fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, loss of smell and so on. WHO says, “For Covid-19, data to date suggest that 80 per cent of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15 per cent are severe infections, requiring oxygen and 5 per cent are critical infections, requiring ventilation. These fractions of severe and critical infection would be higher than what is observed for influenza infection.”

Nipah is more deadly, less contagious; contrary to Covid. 

The R0 (R naught) of the Nipah virus was determined to be 0.43 by the Global Virus network. The mortality rate ranges from 45% to 70%.


However, Covid’s R0 fluctuates a lot and has been above 1% repeatedly in India and elsewhere. This is why it spreads so easily.

The worldwide danger? 

Nipah virus outbreaks have been reported in Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, and India. The virus has also been reported to infect bats in Cambodia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. 

Coronavirus instances, on the other hand, have been recorded in 221 nations and territories worldwide.

Where is the cure?


Nipah virus infection was originally detected in 1999, however there are presently no drugs or vaccines that target Nipah virus infection. The WHO Research and Development Blueprint has designated Nipah as a priority infection.

Unlike the Coronavirus, the Nipah virus has not attracted worldwide attention since outbreaks have been limited and localised.

Current scenario?

Veena George, Kerala’s health minister, confirmed that 11 additional people are showing signs of Nipah viral illness .

As per 5th sept there are 38,948 Coronavirus cases reported in India.