Introduction to West Nile Virus

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Book Chapter

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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne, single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus belonging to the Flaviviridae family. After WNV gains entry through an infected mosquito bite, it replicates in a variety of human cell types and produces a viremia. Although the majority of infected individuals remain asymptomatic, the manifested symptoms in some people range from a mild fever to severe neurological disorder with high morbidity and mortality. In addition, many who recover from WNV neuroinvasive infection present with long-term deficits, including weakness, fatigue, and cognitive problems. Since entering the USA in 1999, WNV has become the most common mosquito-borne virus in North America. Despite the intensive research over 20 years, there are still no approved vaccines or specific treatments for humans, and it remains an urgent need to understand the pathogenesis of WNV and develop specific therapeutics and vaccines.

Publication Title

West Nile Virus

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