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

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."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Immune cells predict outcome of West Nile virus infection

Oct 12, 2009

Infection with West Nile virus (WNV) causes no symptoms in most people. However, it can cause fever, meningitis, and/or encephalitis. What determines the outcome of infection with WNV in different people has not been determined. ...

Recommended for you

NY and NJ say they will require Ebola quarantines

2 hours ago

The governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine for all doctors and other arriving travelers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa.

WHO: Mali case may have infected many people

6 hours ago

The World Health Organization says a toddler who brought Ebola to Mali was bleeding from her nose during her journey on public transport and may have infected many people.

Two US nurses are declared cured of Ebola

7 hours ago

Two American nurses were declared cured of Ebola on Friday, and one was healthy enough to leave the hospital and meet President Barack Obama for a hug.

User comments