, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 720–728 | Cite as

Investigating Rare Risk Factors for Nipah Virus in Bangladesh: 2001–2012

  • Sonia T. Hegde
  • Hossain M. S. Sazzad
  • M. Jahangir Hossain
  • Mahbub-Ul Alam
  • Eben Kenah
  • Peter Daszak
  • Pierre Rollin
  • Mahmudur Rahman
  • Stephen P. Luby
  • Emily S. GurleyEmail author
Original Contribution


Human Nipah encephalitis outbreaks have been identified almost yearly in Bangladesh since 2001. Though raw date palm sap consumption and person-to-person contact are recognized as major transmission pathways, alternative pathways of transmission are plausible and may not have been identified due to limited statistical power in each outbreak. We conducted a risk factor analysis using all 157 cases and 632 controls surveyed in previous investigations during 2004–2012 to identify exposures independently associated with Nipah, since date palm sap was first asked about as an exposure in 2004. To further explore possible rare exposures, we also conducted in-depth interviews with all cases, or proxies, since 2001 that reported no exposure to date palm sap or contact with another case. Cases were 4.9 (95% 3.2–7.7) times more likely to consume raw date palm sap and 7.3 (95% 4.0–13.4) times more likely to have contact with a Nipah case than controls. In-depth interviews revealed that 39/182 (21%) of Nipah cases reporting neither date palm sap consumption nor contact with another case were misclassified. Prevention efforts should be focused on interventions to interrupt transmission through date palm sap consumption and person-to-person contact. Furthermore, pooling outbreak investigation data is a good method for assessing rare exposures.


Nipah virus Bangladesh risk factors zoonoses rare exposures prevention 



Funded by icddr,b and CDC cooperative agreement (no. 5U01CI000628-01), NIH Grant No. 07-015-0712- 52200 (Bangladesh-NIH/Emerging). icddr,b is grateful to the Governments of Bangladesh, Canada, Sweden and the UK for providing core/unrestricted support.


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC Bangladesh or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Supplementary material

10393_2016_1166_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia T. Hegde
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hossain M. S. Sazzad
    • 3
  • M. Jahangir Hossain
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mahbub-Ul Alam
    • 3
  • Eben Kenah
    • 5
  • Peter Daszak
    • 6
  • Pierre Rollin
    • 1
  • Mahmudur Rahman
    • 7
  • Stephen P. Luby
    • 1
    • 8
  • Emily S. Gurley
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.icddr,b (formerly, International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh), Centre for Communicable Diseases icddr,bDhakaBangladesh
  4. 4.Medical Research Council UnitBanjulThe Gambia
  5. 5.University of FloridaFloridaUSA
  6. 6.EcoHealth AllianceNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and ResearchDhakaBangladesh
  8. 8.Stanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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