Annals of Internal Medicine commentary urges public to take precautions against West Nile Virus

September 10, 2012

West Nile virus (WNV) has become endemic in North America, with cases in 2012 exceeding that of any other year. As of August 28, the United States has seen 1,590 cases, 65 deaths, and 303 viremic blood donors.

According to the authors of a commentary being published early online in , the dramatic increase in WNV cases could be due to "the interplay of heat, drought, human habitats, increased mosquito populations and enhanced viral development that all act in concert to increase the force of transmission."

The authors also discuss the possibility that a new strain of WNV may have emerged or that the reservoir of infection in birds has increased. While nearly 80 percent of those infected with WNV have no symptoms, a few may experience life-threatening encephalitis and meningoencephalitis.

The authors warn that and the public need to be on alert for WNV. They write, "A mosquito-prevention message must be unrelenting, directed at personal protective behaviors (avoidance, repellents, and clothing) and reduction of breeding sites. The public must be constantly prodded, with a balance of sensible precautions and serious awareness of the possibility for severe disease."

Related Stories

This summers' return of West Nile

September 10, 2012

In 2002, much of North America became acquainted with an infection that few people had heard of – West Nile Virus. Governments and public health offices launched massive awareness programs to get people to take up practices ...

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.