West Nile virus
Pierce, Marcia M. Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
- Transmission and epidemiology
- Pathogenesis and symptoms
- Control and prevention
- Treatment and preventive vaccine
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An arbovirus, first identified in the West Nile area of Uganda in the early 1930s, that has been an increasing threat in North America since the late 1990s. Arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) are carried by arthropods and transmitted to the host through the bite of the insect. West Nile virus (WNV) found its way to North America in 1999, possibly through international travel, the importation of infected birds or mosquitoes, or migration of infected birds. Severe infection with WNV can result in viral encephalitis, a dangerous and sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain. Since 1999, WNV infections in humans, birds, and mosquitoes have been reported from all states except Hawaii, Alaska, and Oregon. In 2004, there were 2539 cases of human WNV infection in 41 states in the United States. The incidence of WNV encephalitis in the United States is seasonal, with peaks corresponding to the times of the year during which adult mosquitoes are active.
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