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West Nile Virus 

West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus

Matthew Finn

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date: 22 February 2020

West Nile virus (WNV) is a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flavivirus family that is transmitted via a mosquito vector, typically causing fever and capable of causing meningoencephalitis. Although mortality is low, it can lead to debilitating neuroinvasive disease in some patients. WNV is a leading cause of domestically-acquired arboviral disease and most commonly occurs in late August and early September. Consider WNV in otherwise unexplained cases of meningitis or encephalitis. Initial testing should consist of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis and West Nile immunoglobulin M enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in serum and/or CSF. WNV is a nationally notifiable disease. Prevention remains the key to controlling this disease. Reducing the breeding grounds of the Culex mosquito and using insect repellant to prevent bites are two important strategies.

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