No Nipah-positive animal samples recorded, says Health Minister


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has not recorded any animal samples that have tested positive for the Nipah virus, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

The Health Minister said this is based on testing of wild and domestic animals done as surveillance for the Nipah virus.

She added that the ministry has been working together with the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) and the Wildlife Protection and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to conduct surveillance ever since the 1998-1999 Nipah outbreak.

“The last Nipah case in Malaysia was recorded on May 27, 1999, and until Sept 21 this year there have been no new cases of the disease among humans in the country,” she said in a statement on Saturday (Sept 23).

On this, Dr Zaliha added that surveillance and monitoring of the Nipah virus have been carried out among humans through passive case detection.

She also said that when it comes to surveillance of encephalitis cases, pathogen testing of samples that cause encephalitis including the Nipah virus and Japanese encephalitis virus have also been carried out.

Dr Zaliha then said that there has been much information in the media about the Nipah cases in India, and added that her ministry is continuously monitoring cases reported in other countries.

She added that the Health Ministry has been increasing its preparedness by cooperating with various agencies on the matter.

The disease was first detected among humans in Malaysia between September 1998 to May 1999; 265 cases were recorded, and this includes 105 deaths.

It causes brain inflammation (encephalitis) complications and respiratory tract disease with a mortality rate between 40% to 70% among infected humans.

For animals, this disease causes respiratory system disorders for pigs that sometimes involve the nervous system and death of the livestock.

The disease must be notified under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases 1988 Act (Act 342).

The incubation period of the Nipah disease is between five to 14 days.

Among the symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, cough, difficulty breathing, convulsions, confusion and bewilderment.

Flying foxes/fruit bats from the Pteropodidae family are the natural host for the Nipah virus.

The spread of through an intermediate host (pigs) involves direct contact or through contaminated food with faeces, urine and saliva.

Infection among humans occurs as a result of direct contact with an infected pig or the blood/fluid/secretions of the pig.

It can also occur through food consumption such as fruits and drinks, such as tree sap contaminated with the saliva or body fluids of infected bats.

Human-to-human infection can also occur through direct contact with secretions (blood, body fluids and respiratory secretions) of the infected humans.

For more information visit https://www.infosihat.gov.my/penerbitanmultimedia/garispanduan/item/faq-nipah-virus-niv-infection.html and MyHEALTH Portal http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/faq-nipah-virus-niv-infection/

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