West Nile virus
Pierce, Marcia M. Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
Last reviewed:September 2019
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- Transmission and epidemiology
- Pathogenesis and symptoms
- Control and prevention
- Mosquito surveillance and reduction
- Personal, household, and community prevention
- Targeted prevention
- Treatment and vaccination
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A virus that is spread by mosquitoes and occasionally causing an acute, usually mild, disease. West Nile virus (WNV; Fig. 1) is an arbovirus (arthropod-borne virus) that is transmitted to a host through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The virus was first identified in the West Nile area of Uganda in the 1930s and is prevalent throughout Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and western Asia. However, West Nile virus found its way to the Western Hemisphere in 1999 (possibly through the importation of infected birds or mosquitoes, or the migration of infected birds) and has emerged as an increasing threat throughout North America and Central America. Severe infection with West Nile virus can result in viral encephalitis, which is a dangerous and sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain. The incidence of West Nile virus infection is seasonal in certain regions, with peaks corresponding to the times of the year during which adult mosquitoes are active. See also: Animal virus; Arboviral encephalitides; Brain; Encephalitis (arboviral); Infectious disease; Inflammation; Mosquito; Virus; Zoonoses
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