Pathophysiology: West Nile virus (WNV) is a neurotropic flavivirus that has emerged globally as a significant cause of viral encephalitis. Infection of humans is associated with a febrile illness that can progress to a lethal encephalitis with symptoms including cognitive dysfunction and flaccid paralysis. Seroprevalence studies suggest that while the majority of WNV infections are asymptomatic, approximately 20 to 30% of infected individuals develop flu-like clinical manifestations characterized as WNV fever.
Disease statistics: An outbreak of fever and meningitis/encephalitis occurred in Xinjiang, China, from August 5 to September 3, 2004. In preliminary diagnostic testing, several cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples showed positive immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody to Japanese encephalitis virus. Here, the CSF and serum samples of 6 cases collected at that time were tested by immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for the existence of IgM antibody or neutralization antibody against West Nile virus (WNV) or other arboviruses.
Treatment: The diagnosis of West Nile virus infection is confirmed with a blood or cerebrospinal fluid test. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection. Intensive supportive therapy is directed toward the complications of brain infections. Anti-inflammatory medications, intravenous fluids, and intensive medical monitoring may be required in severe cases.
Research:Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted research to find out the existence of West Nile Virus infection in China. The results from the research demonstrate the evidence of West Nile infection in Xinjiang, China.