What is West Nile Virus?

The History of West Nile Virus & Why you need to protect yourself.

We suggest that you use the Tips to Keep Insects Away in conjunction with liberal applications of Bugrepel products to yourself, your pets, your home, yard and barn. Bugrepel products are strong and effective, but in order to effectively control pests, you MUST use a systematic treatment of all affected areas, animals and structures. The only effective way to beat insects is to use a comprehensive solution. And when it comes to dealing with life-threatening diseases, use Bugrepel products in conjunction with area treatments such as those listed on the "Tips" page, any applicable proven safe vaccines, pills or (preferably homeopathic or natural) medicines. Don't take chances! Be safe and use a comprehensive solution, including Bugrepel.

For the latest-breaking news and valuable news updates not only concerning West Nile Virus outbreaks and the US and what precautions you need to take, but concerning other insect-borne diseases, please visit our Bug and Insect News section HERE.

This information comes from:
Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
West Nile Virus

New York City area outbreak
Entomology (insects)
Vertebrate ecology (birds and mammals)
Virology (virus studies)

Pesticides and Mosquito Control

Introduction: West Nile virus (WNV) has emerged in recent years in temperate regions of Europe and North America, presenting a threat to public health, horse equine health, and since 1999, the health of bird populations. The most serious manifestation of infection is fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in humans and horses, as well as mortality in certain domestic and wild birds.

History: West Nile virus was first isolated from a febrile adult woman in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937. The ecology was characterized in Egypt in the 1950s. The virus became recognized as a cause of severe human meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain) in elderly patients during an outbreak in Israel in 1957. Equine disease was first noted in Egypt and France in the early 1960s. The appearance of WNV in North America in 1999, with encephalitis reported in humans and horses, may be an important milestone in the evolving history of this virus.

Larger view
Geographic Distribution: West Nile virus has been described in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, west and central Asia, Oceania (sub-type Kunjin), and most recently, North America. Recent outbreaks of WNV encephalitis in humans have occurred in Algeria in 1994, Romania in 1996-1997, the Czech Republic in 1997, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998, Russia in 1999, and the United States in 1999. Epizootics of disease in horses occurred in Morocco in 1996, Italy in 1998, and the USA in 1999. In the USA, WNV has been recovered in New York State including Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York City. Equine disease was clustered on Long Island, east of New York City.

Family: Flaviviridae
Genus: Flavivirus Japanese Encephalitis Antigenic Complex
Complex includes: Alfuy, Cacipacore, Japanese encephalitis, Koutango, Kunjin, Murray Valley encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, Stratford, Usutu, and West Nile, and Yaounde viruses.
Flaviviruses: share a common size (40-60nm), symmetry (enveloped, icosahedral nucleocapsid), nucleic acid (positive-sense, single stranded RNA approximately 10,000-11,000 bases), and appearance in the electron microscope.
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