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      Epidemiology and Transmission Dynamics of West Nile Virus Disease

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          Abstract

          Since 1999, >16,000 cases in the United Stateswere transmitted by Culex mosquitoes.

          Abstract

          From 1937 until 1999, West Nile virus (WNV) garnered scant medical attention as the cause of febrile illness and sporadic encephalitis in parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. After the surprising detection of WNV in New York City in 1999, the virus has spread dramatically westward across the United States, southward into Central America and the Caribbean, and northward into Canada, resulting in the largest epidemics of neuroinvasive WNV disease ever reported. From 1999 to 2004, >7,000 neuroinvasive WNV disease cases were reported in the United States. In 2002, WNV transmission through blood transfusion and organ transplantation was described for the first time, intrauterine transmission was first documented, and possible transmission through breastfeeding was reported. This review highlights new information regarding the epidemiology and dynamics of WNV transmission, providing a new platform for further research into preventing and controlling WNV disease.

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          Most cited references 47

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          Experimental Infection of North American Birds with the New York 1999 Strain of West Nile Virus

          To evaluate transmission dynamics, we exposed 25 bird species to West Nile virus (WNV) by infectious mosquito bite. We monitored viremia titers, clinical outcome, WNV shedding (cloacal and oral), seroconversion, virus persistence in organs, and susceptibility to oral and contact transmission. Passeriform and charadriiform birds were more reservoir competent (a derivation of viremia data) than other species tested. The five most competent species were passerines: Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), and House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Death occurred in eight species. Cloacal shedding of WNV was observed in 17 of 24 species, and oral shedding in 12 of 14 species. We observed contact transmission among four species and oral in five species. Persistent WNV infections were found in tissues of 16 surviving birds. Our observations shed light on transmission ecology of WNV and will benefit surveillance and control programs.
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            Epidemic West Nile encephalitis, New York, 1999: results of a household-based seroepidemiological survey.

            In the summer of 1999, West Nile virus was recognised in the western hemisphere for the first time when it caused an epidemic of encephalitis and meningitis in the metropolitan area of New York City, NY, USA. Intensive hospital-based surveillance identified 59 cases, including seven deaths in the region. We did a household-based seroepidemiological survey to assess more clearly the public-health impact of the epidemic, its range of illness, and risk factors associated with infection. We used cluster sampling to select a representative sample of households in an area of about 7.3 km(2) at the outbreak epicentre. All individuals aged 5 years or older were eligible for interviews and phlebotomy. Serum samples were tested for IgM and IgG antibodies specific for West Nile virus. 677 individuals from 459 households participated. 19 were seropositive (weighted seroprevalence 2.6% [95% CI 1.2-4.1). Six (32%) of the seropositive individuals reported a recent febrile illness compared with 70 of 648 (11%) seronegative participants (difference 21% [0-47]). A febrile syndrome with fatigue, headache, myalgia, and arthralgia was highly associated with seropositivity (prevalence ratio 7.4 [1.5-36.6]). By extrapolation from the 59 diagnosed meningoencephalitis cases, we conservatively estimated that the New York outbreak consisted of 8200 (range 3500-13000) West Nile viral infections, including about 1700 febrile infections. During the 1999 West Nile virus outbreak, thousands of symptomless and symptomatic West Nile viral infections probably occurred, with fewer than 1% resulting in severe neurological disease.
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              West Nile virus: an overview of its spread in Europe and the Mediterranean basin in contrast to its spread in the Americas.

              West Nile (WN) virus is a mosquito-transmitted flavivirus. It is widely distributed in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and southern Europe and was recently introduced to North America. Birds are involved in the cycle of transmission as amplifying hosts. Humans and horses are considered accidental dead-end hosts. WN fever was initially considered a minor arbovirosis, usually inducing a nonsymptomatic or a mild flu-like illness in humans, but some cases of encephalitis associated with fatalities were reported in Israel in the 1950s. After two silent decades, several human and equine outbreaks of fatal encephalitis occurred from 1996 to 2000 in Romania, Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Russia, Israel, and France. In Romania, a few cases of WN encephalitis in humans are noticed every year, and in France, recent WN infections have been detected in monitored sentinel birds in 2001 and 2002. Phylogenetic studies have shown two main lineages of WN strains. Strains from lineage I are present in Africa, India, and Australia and are responsible for the outbreaks in Europe and in the Mediterranean basin, and strains from lineage II have been reported only in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1998, a virulent WN strain from lineage I was identified in dying migrating storks and domestic geese showing clinical symptoms of encephalitis and paralysis in Israel. A nearly identical WN strain suddenly emerged in New York in 1999, killing thousands of native birds and causing fatal cases in humans. The virus is now well established in the New World, and it disseminates rapidly. New modes of transmission through blood donations, organ transplants, and the intrauterine route have been reported. In Europe, an enhanced surveillance of WN infection in humans, horses, birds, and vectors may reveal the presence of the virus in different locations. Nevertheless, outbreaks of WN virus remain unpredictable. Further coordinated studies are needed for a better understanding of the ecology and the pathogenicity of the WN virus.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infect. Dis
                EID
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                1080-6040
                1080-6059
                August 2005
                : 11
                : 8
                : 1167-1173
                Affiliations
                [* ]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Edward B. Hayes, Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PO Box 2087, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526, USA; fax: 970-221-6476; email: ebh2@ 123456cdc.gov
                Article
                05-0289a
                10.3201/eid1108.050289a
                3320478
                16102302
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