West Nile Virus

The race against Zika

While most of us were first hearing of a strange, new and dangerous mosquito-borne virus stampeding across South and Central America and into Mexico, University of Alberta virologist Tom Hobman and his team were months deep ...

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Reliably detecting dengue fever

Tiger mosquitoes are indigenous to Africa and Asia. However, they are increasingly being found around the Mediterranean and are bringing the dengue virus with them. Up to now, there's been no sure-fire antibody test for detecting ...

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West Nile virus (WNV) is a virus of the family Flaviviridae. Part of the Japanese encephalitis (JE) antigenic complex of viruses, it is found in both tropical and temperate regions. It mainly infects birds, but is known to infect humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats, chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, domestic rabbits, crows, robins, crocodiles and alligators. The main route of human infection is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Approximately 90% of West Nile Virus infections in humans are without any symptoms.

Image reconstructions and cryoelectron microscopy reveal a 45–50 nm virion covered with a relatively smooth protein surface. This structure is similar to the dengue fever virus; both belong to the genus Flavivirus within the family Flaviviridae. The genetic material of WNV is a positive-sense, single strand of RNA, which is between 11,000 and 12,000 nucleotides long; these genes encode seven non-structural proteins and three structural proteins. The RNA strand is held within a nucleocapsid formed from 12 kDa protein blocks; the capsid is contained within a host-derived membrane altered by two viral glycoproteins.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

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