West Nile Virus: What is it and how did it get here?

Essay by slevinUniversity, Master'sA+, March 2004

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My intention for this paper is to address the origin of the West Nile virus; comparing the most recent human and equine case statistics in the United States. The comparison will primarily be based on articles found on the Internet, some from scientists and government agencies, and some from lay persons trying to make a difference. The information in this paper is not to change any person's opinion but to give the reader statistics and explore the origin of West Nile virus. I will address protection techniques for both humans and equines along with information that I have gathered on the cause of West Nile virus in the United States.

West Nile Virus: What is it and how did it get here?

During my research on the West Nile Virus, I was surprised at some of the interesting facts and opinions that I came across. This paper will address human and equine statistics along with some possible origins of West Nile Virus.

What we know about West Nile Virus is that the virus cannot be transmitted by humans, horses or small mammals that have contracted the virus to others--they are incidental hosts. The virus is a mosquito-borne virus that is transmitted from birds, especially crows and blue jays, to mosquito's, which then complete the cycle by infecting humans and horses with the virus.

Photo Credit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/cycle.htm

West Nile Virus was first discovered in the United States in 1999. The first case was reported in New York City. The virus caused seven deaths and 62 serious illness cases in New York and New Jersey alone that year (West Nile Virus Moves to Wisconsin, 2002). By the end of the summer in 2002, there were 4,156 human cases of West Nile Virus in the United States, with 284 deaths (NBII...