West Nile Virus

Why West Nile virus is more dangerous in the elderly

West Nile virus (WNV) is particularly dangerous in older people, who account for a large number of severe cases and deaths caused by the virus. WNV infection turns serious when the virus crosses the blood-brain-barrier and ...

Jul 23, 2015
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What is West Nile Virus?

Late summer brings excitement about college football and hopes that the weather will soon cool off, but it also brings a risk for West Nile Virus, a common infection, but one that is not frequently diagnosed.

Sep 09, 2014
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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.

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