West Nile virus – USA

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Health officials in Miami-Dade County, Florida,  confirmed that at least 18 people living in the county have contracted the West Nile virus.

West Nile virus has been the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States. No vaccines for humans exist to prevent, nor do specific medications to treat it exist.

West Nile virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly species of Culex and related to Zika, dengue and yellow fever viruses.

In humans, West Nile virus can cause a disease known as West Nile fever.  Approximately 80% of infected people have few or no symptom, while around 20% of people develop mild symptoms (such as fever, headache, vomiting, or a rash), and less than 1% of people develop severe symptoms (such as encephalitis or meningitis)

Female anopheles albimanus mosquito

Photo: Many types of mosquitoes are vectors for Jamestown Canyon virus. 

The virus was discovered in Uganda in 1937 and was first detected in North America in 1999. West Nile Virus has been reported in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America.

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