IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

WEST NILE VIRUS

19th August, 2022 Health

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Context

  • The New York City Health Department announced that the West Nile virus had been detected in two people.

 

About

  • West Nile virus (WNV) is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever.
  • It is a member of the family Flaviviridae, from the genus Flavivirus, which also contains the Zika virus, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus.
  • West Nile virus can cause a fatal neurological disease in humans.
  • However, approximately 80% of people who are infected will not show any symptoms.
  • The virus can cause severe disease and death in horses.
  • Birds are the natural hosts of West Nile virus.

 

Transmission

  • Human infection is most often the result of bites from infected mosquitoes.
  • Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which circulate the virus in their blood for a few days.
  • The virus eventually gets into the mosquito's salivary glands.
  • During later blood meals (when mosquitoes bite), the virus may be injected into humans and animals, where it can multiply and possibly cause illness.
  • The virus may also be transmitted through contact with other infected animals, their blood, or other tissues.

Symptoms

  • Usually, people who are affected with WNV will not have any different symptoms, not even mild symptoms.
  • However, the symptoms will include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
  • They can either last for several weeks or can get away on their own.

 

Prevention

  • In the absence of a vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus.
  • Vaccines are available for use in horses but not yet available for people.

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-is-the-west-nile-virus-how-does-it-spread-7942629/

 

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