Nipah virus: For health professionals

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What health professionals need to know about Nipah virus

Health-care professionals should implement standard infection control precautions at all times, whether caring for patients:

  • with suspected Nipah virus infection
  • with confirmed Nipah virus infection or
  • when handling specimens from them

Contact and droplet precautions should be used along with standard precautions. This is important, as human-to-human transmission (in particular nosocomial transmission) have been reported.

Only trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories should handle samples taken from people and animals with suspected Nipah virus infection.

Prevention and control

Those who have been in close contact with an infectious patient must be identified. This should take place within 3 weeks of the onset of the patient's illness.

These individuals should be monitored and their temperature taken daily, for 21 days after their last exposure to the patient. If a high temperature (above 38ÂșC) develops, the person should contact a physician right away.


The National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) is the only facility in Canada permitted to work with live Nipah viruses. The lab offers the world's highest level of containment. It meets or exceeds all national and international guidelines for safety and security.

Any testing related to a suspected Nipah virus infection must be carried out in a containment level 4 (CL4) lab. CL4 labs ensure maximum containment through:

  • complete sealing of the lab
  • decontamination of all waste
  • high-efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filtration of supply air
  • double HEPA filtration of exhausted air
  • isolation of personnel from viruses through the use of positive pressure suits

Shipping of samples

If a sample requires testing, contact the 24-hour emergency line right away at 1-800-545-7661.

An expert will assist you in developing an Emergency Response Assistance Plan. This will help ensure the safe shipping of the sample to the NML.

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