From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : West Nile Virus
Mains level : NA
Russia warned of a possible increase in West Nile virus infections this autumn as mild temperatures and heavy precipitation create favorable conditions for the mosquitos that carry it.
West Nile virus (WNV)
- WNV is mainly transmitted through mosquito bites and can lead to fatal neurological diseases in humans, although most people infected never develop any symptoms.
- Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall.
- Originally from Africa, the WNV has spread to Europe, Asia, and North America.
- It was first isolated in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937.
- It was identified in birds in the Nile delta region in 1953.
- Before 1997, WNV was not considered pathogenic for birds.
- Human infections attributable to WNV have been reported in many countries for over 50 years.
- Infected persons usually have no symptoms or mild symptoms.
- Some of the symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands.
- They can last a few days to several weeks and usually, go away on their own.
- Prolonged illness may cause inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, or inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis.
- There is no vaccine against the virus in humans although one exists for horses, the WHO says.