Pandemics in the last two centuries have been initiated by causal pathogens that include Severe Acute Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Influenza (e.g., the H1N1 pandemic of 2009). The latter is considered to have initiated two prior pandemics in 1918 and 1977, known as the “Spanish Flu” and “Russian Flu”, respectively.
Here, we discuss other emerging infections that could be potential public health threats. These include Henipaviruses, which are members of the family Paramyxoviridae that infect bats and other mammals. Paramyxoviridae also include Parainfluenza and Mumps viruses (Rubulavirus) but also Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV) (Pneumovirus).
Additionally included is the Measles virus, recorded for the first time in writing in 1657 (Morbillivirus). In humans and animals, these may cause encephalitis or respiratory diseases. Recently, two more highly pathogenic class 4 viral pathogens emerged.
These were named Hendra Henipavirus (HeV) and Nipah Henipavirus (NiV). Nipah virus is a negative-sense single-stranded ribonucleic acid ((−) ssRNA) virus within the family Paramyxoviridae. There are currently no known therapeutics or treatment regimens licensed as effective in humans, with development ongoing. Nipah virus is a lethal emerging zoonotic disease that has been neglected since its characterization in 1999 until recently. Nipah virus infection occurs predominantly in isolated regions of Malaysia, Bangladesh, and India in small outbreaks. Factors that affect animal–human disease transmission include viral mutation, direct contact, amplifying reservoirs, food, close contact, and host cell mutations.
There are different strains of Nipah virus, and small outbreaks in humans limit known research and surveillance on this pathogen. The small size of outbreaks in rural areas is suggestive of low transmission. Person-to-person transmission may occur. The role that zoonotic (animal–human) or host immune system cellular factors perform therefore requires analysis. Mortality estimates for NiV infection range from 38–100% (averaging 58.2% in early 2019). It is therefore critical to outline treatments and prevention for NiV disease in future research. The final stages of the disease severely affect key organ systems, particularly the central nervous system and brain.
Therefore, here we clarify the pathogenesis, biochemical mechanisms, and all research in context with known immune cell proteins and genetic factors. Peer reviewed article below