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West Nile virus
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West Nile virus p. 177
West Nile virus p. 164
West Nile virus is an arthropod-borne virus, or arbovirus, which are viruses that get transmitted through insects called vectors.
The vector for west nile virus is the mosquito, and gets transmitted in highest frequency through the female Culex species, which feeds on birds.
The virus was first discovered in Uganda - west of the Nile - but has since been reported throughout the world.
Normally, west nile virus is found in birds and mosquitoes.
Birds act as a reservoir for the virus, meaning the virus can replicate at high enough levels to cause significant viremia, or elevated viral blood counts, which allows for transmission to other uninfected mosquitoes.
The virus will then replicate inside the mosquito and ultimately move into its salivary glands.
So when the mosquito bites another animal, it injects its infected saliva into the host, since mosquitoes normally use their saliva as an anticoagulant.
When the vector mosquito bites a larger animal, like a horse or a human, the virus can't spread from these larger animals because their blood doesn’t reach high enough levels of the virus to be passed on to any mosquitoes that happen to bite them.
And this is called a dead end host.
West Nile virus is composed of positive single-stranded RNA.
This means that their RNA is actually mRNA, and the host cell ribosomes use this mRNA to make a long polyprotein chain, which is then broken into smaller pieces by viral proteases.
This all happens in the cytoplasm of the host cell, since that’s where ribosomes are found, and results in the production of several viral proteins.
West Nile virus is surrounded by an icosahedral capsid, which is a spherical protein shell made up of 20 equilateral triangular faces.
West Nile virus is also an “enveloped virus” because the capsid is covered by a lipid membrane.
Clathrin-mediated endocytosis is a cellular process that creates a vesicle to internalize a certain substance, in the case here, the virus, with the help of the proteins called clathrins.
West Nile virus is an arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes, with birds acting as a reservoir. The virus causes West Nile fever, which can progress to encephalitis or meningitis. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, and rash. Diagnosis is made by detecting elevated IgM levels in the serum or CSF using a specific immunoassay test. Treatment involves supportive care, and prevention is the best therapy, including the use of mosquito repellent and wearing protective clothing.
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