Freda Anderson
Silver- Bio-chem
5-11-09

West Nile Virus

  1. An image (microscopic photo and/or artist's rendition) of the virus itself (not a picture of someone infected with the virus).

West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus
  1. History/background information: When was is discovered? By who? Where? Are there any major past outbreaks? Where? Is this virus generally located in a specific geographic region? Also provide some statistics about infection numbers, mortality rates, etc.

West Nile Virus was discovered by Bernkopf H, Levine S and Nerson R in 1953 in Israel.

In 2008 the count for confirmed human cases across the world was 1,200 with 27 deaths. The last reported human outbreaks (there were two in the same area at the same time) of West Nile Virus was in Emilia Romagna, Italy. That was in September, 2008. These two were the first cases to ever hit Italy.

  1. Symptoms in humans infected with the virus. Are there always symptoms or does the virus stay "dormant" for periods of time?

One of the most scary things about West Nile Virus is that most people don't develop ANY symptoms. Only 20% of the cases had ANY symptoms whatsoever. The other scary thing is, the symptoms that some people DO have could have been symptoms for almost anythings. Things like:

-Skin rashes
-Headaches
-Fevers
-Diarrhea
-Nausea
-Backache
-Muscle aches
-Loss of appetite

It's not until much later that West Nile Virus starts really hurting people... and it is very rare that the virus would ever be able to get this far going untreated/noticed. After the incubation period when the virus takes over the cell, it starts to get dangerous, it can cause:
-Vomiting
-Swollen lymph nodes
-Near coma or coma level consciousness

  1. *How is the virus transmitted? Can it pass from human to human? Are there other animals involved in its transmission? Can the virus infect other organisms? Do other organisms actually get sick, or are they just carriers?

In most cases the only way you can get West Nile Virus is from an infected Mosquito, although in some rare cases it can be transferred by infected ticks. The virus can infect humans, birds, pigs, camels, cattle, horses, dogs, sheep, mountain goats, cats, chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, bats and domestic rabbits.

  1. *Details about virus structure/composition. What kind of nucleic acids does it have? What is its coat/shell made of? What surface proteins does it have?

It's a virion, which means it is complete without having to have a host cell. It's covered in a protein surface and it belongs to the genius Flavivirus. The West Nile Virus is a single strand of RNA that is around 11,000 nucleotides long.

  1. *Details about infection. Which human cells does it infect? How does infection occur? Once the virus injects its DNA/RNA into the cell, what happens? What host cell organelles are involved? What host cell enzymes are involved?

West Nile Virus affects your nerve cells. It basically takes them over, multiplies inside them and takes more over.

  1. *How does the human body fight the virus?

It really can't... if you have been bitten by an infected mosquito then your body can't get rid of it unless you get treatment. A good way of getting rid of the risk though is making sure you have no standing water in your backyard and make sure that if you have a deck or something that it is somehow kept dry underneath. One more thing is cut any excess weeds out of your yard.

  1. *How has the virus changed over time? Are there documented cases of it mutating? How does this occur? What specific changes were observed and how did this affect humans or other organisms? If no mutations have been directly observed, predict what might happen if the virus were to change in the future.

It hasn't really changed, there are a lot more infected misquitos now though then there were before. There was a time when they became immune to some of the treatment but they're not to the new treatment.

  1. How is this virus treated by medical professionals? Do we have a vaccination/immunization against this virus? How can infection be prevented?

They said that AMD 3100, which is actually an HIV antivirul, can be helpful for West Nile Virus.

  1. Sources: in addition to in-text hyperlinks, provide a list of all sources used.

-http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol11no08/05-0289a.htm

-http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5726a2.htm

-http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/westnilevirus.html

-http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/west-nile-virus/DS00438

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