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West Nile fever UPSC NOTE

 Why in news

  • The Kerala government issued an alert in the State against West Nile fever, a mosquito-borne viral infection, after one death and eight cases were reported from Kozhikode, Malappuram and Thrissur districts in recent days

  • The infection was confirmed after samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid of suspected patients were examined at the Virus Research and Diagnostic Lab attached to the Kozhikode medical college hospital. 

  • They were later sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for official confirmation.

West Nile Virus

  • The West Nile Virus (WNV) is a flavivirus related to the viruses that are also responsible for causing St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever.

  • It is a mosquito-borne, single-stranded RNA virus.

Global Prevalence:

  • Along all major bird migratory routes, WNV outbreak sites are found.

  • Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and West Asia are the regions where the virus is commonly found.

  • Usually, WNV infections peak during the period when mosquito vectors are most active and the ambient temperature is high enough for virus multiplication for most of the countries

  • WNV was first isolated in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937.

  • It was identified in birds in the Nile delta region in 1953. 

  • Before 1997, WNV was not considered pathogenic for birds.

  • Human infections attributable to WNV have been reported in many countries for over 50 years.

Transmission Cycle:

  • Principal vector for transmission is the culex species of mosquitoes.

  • Birds act as the reservoir host of the virus.

  • Infected mosquitoes transmit WNV between and among humans and animals, including birds.

  • When a mosquito feeds on infected birds, they become infected.

  • The virus circulates in the blood of those infected mosquitoes for a few days, eventually getting into the mosquito’s salivary glands.

  • The virus may get injected into humans and animals during later blood meals (when mosquito bites). 

  • Therein, WNV can multiply and possibly cause illness.

  • WNV can also get transmitted from an infected mother to her child through blood transfusion or via exposure to the virus in laboratories.

  • No instance of transmission by contact with infected humans or animals has been reported.

  • It does not spread through eating infected animals, including birds.

  • Generally, the incubation period for WNV disease is 2-6 days

  • However, this may range from 2-14 days, and can also be several weeks in people whose immunity is compromised.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no human-to-human transmission of WNV through casual contact has been reported till date

Symptoms

  • Symptoms of the infection include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis

  • Most of the symptoms are similar to that of Japanese encephalitis

  • However, 80% of the patients need not show any symptoms.

Cure

  • The WHO says that the treatment is supportive for patients with neuro-invasive West Nile virus, often involving hospitalisation, intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of secondary infections

  • No vaccine is available for humans.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: West Nile fever UPSC NOTE
West Nile fever UPSC NOTE
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