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West Nile Fever: West Nile fever is a zoonotic disease  which is basically an animal disease affecting humans. According to the scientists, it  is caused by West Nile virus (WNV), it is a flavivirus related to the viruses that cause St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever.

Earlier it was in news when a section of the media had reported that a seven year old boy from Malappuram District of Kerala is suffering from a West Nile Virus (WNV), a mosquito-borne disease, mostly reported in the continental United States.

Although Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare was closely monitoring the situation and has spoken to the State Health Minister of Kerala in this regard. Ministeries has directed for all support to be extended to Kerala in its prevention and management.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also been alerted and a close watch is being maintained at Central and State level.  There are no reports available so far for spread of this virus in other parts of the country. 

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West Nile fever; Things you need to know

According to National Health Portal, Government of India, West Nile fever is a zoonotic disease (an animal disease affecting humans) which is caused by West Nile virus (WNV), it is a flavivirus related to the viruses that cause St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever.

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It has been said that the West Nile virus is mainly transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes and it maintained in nature by transmission between birds and mosquitoes; as birds are the natural hosts of the virus. Humans, horses and other mammals can be infected.

West Nile fever Symptoms: 

West Nile fever can cause severe neurological illness and death in people, however about 80% of people who are infected show no symptoms.

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WNV is highly prevalent in India. Infection usually presents as a mild, non-fatal dengue like illness in humans. During an outbreak of AES in Kerala, in May 2011, presence of WNV was confirmed in clinical specimens. Since then, WNV encephalitis cases have regularly been reported in Kerala.

West Nile fever History:

West Nile virus was first isolated in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937. An epidemic of West Nile fever was reported in humans in Israel in 1951. In 1999 WNV was imported in New York and produced a large outbreak that spread throughout the continental United States of America (USA) during 1999-2010. Large outbreaks also occurred in Greece, Israel, Romania and Russia. The virus is now widely reported from Canada to Venezuela. Outbreak sites are on major birds’ migratory routes. WNV is commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia.



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