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West Nile Virus: What Is It And How Did It Get Here?

2322 words - 9 pages

AbstractMy 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.htmWest 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 Wildlife Disease Information Node, 2003.) We have been very fortunate in the state of Wisconsin, during this same period reporting only 52 cases and three deaths (Centers of Disease Control, 2003). In contrast, in 2003, forty-eight states reported West Nile Virus with a total number of 8,567 cases and 199 deaths. Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas accounted for 5,763 cases alone with 107 deaths occurring in these states. Only the states of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington have not reported any West Nile Virus in humans, horses, birds or mosquito populations (Centers of Disease Control, 2003).Photo Credit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/surv&control03Maps.htmIn comparison, equine cases in the United States have declined substantially from 2002 to 2003. In 2002, the United States reported 14,717 cases of West Nile Virus in horses in forty-four states resulting in 5,886 equine deaths. Fortunately in 2003, equine cases decreased with only 4,372 cases reported in 2003.The decline in the equine cases can be associated with the West Nile vaccine that was approved in November 2002 by the Veterinary Services division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This is a...

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