Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

What is the West Nile Virus?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : West Nile Virus

Mains level : Vector borne diseases

The Kerala health department is on alert after the death occurred due to the West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus

  • The West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne, single-stranded RNA virus.
  • According to the WHO, it is a member of the flavivirus genus and belongs to the Japanese Encephalitis antigenic complex of the family Flaviviridae.

How does it spread?

  • Culex species of mosquitoes act as the principal vectors for transmission.
  • It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes between and among humans and animals, including birds, which are the reservoir host of the virus.
  • 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.
  • WNV can also spread through blood transfusion, from an infected mother to her child, or through exposure to the virus in laboratories.
  • It is not known to spread by contact with infected humans or animals.

Symptoms of WNV infection

  • The disease is asymptomatic in 80% of the infected people.
  • The rest develop what is called the West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease.
  • In these 20% cases, the symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, rash, and swollen glands.
  • Severe infection can lead to encephalitis, meningitis, paralysis, and even death.
  • It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of the disease.
  • Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months.
  • It usually turns fatal in persons with co-morbidities and immuno-compromised persons (such as transplant patients).

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments