The Impact of West Nile Virus on Humans (or Why We Should Worry)
West Nile virus can infect humans, but there are more drastic ways that it affects our lives. The virus normally lives in birds and is transmitted among them and other animals by mosquitoes. There is no other definite method of transmission, and people do not have to worry about contracting the virus through contact with infected humans or animals. Hundreds of species of birds and many mammals, including several endangered species, are vulnerable to the virus. Many domestic animals are also susceptible, but the virus does not create any symptoms in most of them. There is no way of getting rid of the virus once an animal has been infected, but a vaccine for horses has recently been approved by the USDA. There are also vaccines for preventing infection in humans being worked on by several companies.
West Nile virus can infect humans, but infection is not the only way that it affects our daily lives. Several other animal species can also become infected by the virus, so special care should be taken to protect our wildlife, our livestock, and even our pets.
West Nile virus is transmitted from birds to other animals through a vector, one of forty-three species of mosquito. Scientists have also found West Nile virus in ticks in Africa and Asia (Lee, 2003), but there has been no evidence that the ticks can also act as a vector for the virus. People cannot catch West Nile virus from any other animals, so becoming ill from the virus should not be the main concern of humans regarding the virus.
However, if a human does become infected with West Nile virus, it is unlikely that it will produce any symptoms. Usually, only people over the age of 50 or very young children are...
...ional Wildlife Health Center
Web site: http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/research/west_nile/wnvaffected.html
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2004, August). West Nile Virus: What You Need to Know. Retrieved August 2, 2005, from CDC: West Nile Virus
Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factsheet.htm
Lee, M. C. (2003) West Nile Virus: Overview and Abstracts. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2005, April). NIAID Research on West Nile Virus. Retrieved August 2, 2005, from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Web site: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/westnile.htm
Protecting Horses from West Nile Virus, Breakthrough Technology. (2005, July 24). Retrieved July 28, 2005, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
WNVâ€™s Impact on Humans 5
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