West Nile Virus
A seven-year-old in Kerala has been detected with the West Nile Virus. The central government has sent the team to the state and is monitoring the case closely.
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus is a viral infection which typically spread by mosquitoes and results in neurological disease as well as death in people.
The Virus is the member of the flavivirus genus and belongs to the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the family Flaviviridae. It was first detected in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937 and was later identified in birds (crows and Columbiformes) in the Nile delta region in 1953.
Spread of Disease
The disease spreads through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are infected when they feed on infected birds. The virus then circulates in blood and multiplies. The virus also travels to salivary glands from where it is injected into humans as well as animals through mosquito bites. There have been no reports of human-to-human transmission through casual contact till date. But a small proportion of human infections have reported through organ transplant, blood transfusions and breast milk while one case of transplacental.
People infected with WNV suffer from fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. In case of severe West Nile disease, the patient suffers from headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. One in 150 persons infected with the virus will develop a severe form of the disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the infection.