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West Nile virus: North American experience

January 1, 2011

West Nile virus, a mosquito-vectored flavivirus of the Japanese encephalitis serogroup, was first detected in North America following an epizootic in the New York City area in 1999. In the intervening 11 years since the arrival of the virus in North America, it has crossed the contiguous USA, entered the Canadian provinces bordering the USA, and has been reported in the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Central America and, more recently, South America. West Nile virus has been reported in over 300 species of birds in the USA and has caused the deaths of thousands of birds, local population declines of some avian species, the clinical illness and deaths of thousands of domestic horses, and the clinical disease in over 30 000 Americans and the deaths of over 1000. Prior to the emergence of West Nile virus in North America, St. Louis encephalitis virus and Dengue virus were the only other known mosquito-transmitted flaviviruses in North America capable of causing human disease. This review will discuss the North American experience with mosquito-borne flavivirus prior to the arrival of West Nile virus, the entry and spread of West Nile virus in North America, effects on wild bird populations, genetic changes in the virus, and the current state of West Nile virus transmission.

Publication Year 2011
Title West Nile virus: North American experience
DOI 10.1111/j.1749-4877.2011.00251.x
Authors Erik K. Hofmeister
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Integrative Zoology
Index ID 70005789
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center