Nipah virus (NiV) infection can be diagnosed during illness or after recovery. Different tests are available to diagnose NiV infection. During early stages of the illness, laboratory testing can be conducted using real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from throat and nasal swabs, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and blood. Later in the course of illness and after recovery, testing for antibodies is conducted using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Early diagnosis of NiV infection can be challenging due to the non-specific early symptoms of the illness. However, early detection and diagnosis are critical to increase chances of survival among infected individuals, to prevent transmission to other people, and to manage outbreak response efforts. NiV should be considered for people with symptoms consistent with NiV infection who have been in areas where Nipah is more common, such as Bangladesh or India—particularly if they have a known exposure.