West Nile Virus

Written by Norene Anderson
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The West Nile Virus (WNV) has created a sense of fear across the nation in recent years as there are a number of deaths related to it. Statistics have shown that the WNV has been identified in as many as forty-four states. There were at least 232 fatalities reported in 2002. There were also over 24,000 horses infected. These statistics appeared to be on the increase in 2003.

The virus was first noted to be spreading in the 1930's from Africa. It made its way to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It made its first presentation in America in 1999. The state of New York identified 62 cases with 7 humans dying. There were also nine deaths reported in horses. These statistics have shown a frightening increase.

Get West Nile Virus Facts

There are more than twenty-five species of mosquitoes that have been known to transmit West Nile. Of these twenty-five, the Culex pipiens appears to be the most common carrier that infects horses and people. The West Nile Virus is carried and spread when an infected mosquito bites. They pick up the disease from infected birds.

There are a very small number of cases that have documented that the West Nile Virus has also spread very rarely through the process of blood transfusions and organ transplants. It has even been shown to transfer from mother to baby through pregnancy and breastfeeding. The one way it is not spread is through casual contact. It is not contagious through kissing or touching. If you have concerns, be sure to talk to your physician.


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