(1/1412) West Nile fever--a reemerging mosquito-borne viral disease in Europe.

West Nile virus causes sporadic cases and outbreaks of human and equine disease in Europe (western Mediterranean and southern Russia in 1962-64, Belarus and Ukraine in the 1970s and 1980s, Romania in 1996-97, Czechland in 1997, and Italy in 1998). Environmental factors, including human activities, that enhance population densities of vector mosquitoes (heavy rains followed by floods, irrigation, higher than usual temperature, or formation of ecologic niches that enable mass breeding of mosquitoes) could increase the incidence of West Nile fever.  (+info)

(2/1412) Entomologic and avian investigations of an epidemic of West Nile fever in Romania in 1996, with serologic and molecular characterization of a virus isolate from mosquitoes.

Between July and October 1996, a West Nile (WN) fever epidemic occurred in the southern plain and Danube Valley of Romania and in the capital city of Bucharest, resulting in hundreds of neurologic cases and 17 fatalities. In early October 1996, entomologic and avian investigations of the epidemic were conducted in the city of Bucharest and nearby rural areas. Thirty (41%) of 73 domestic fowl sampled had neutralizing antibody to WN virus, including 5 of 13 ducks (38%), 1 of 1 goose, 19 of 52 chickens (37%), 1 of 1 peahen, and 4 of 6 turkeys (67%). Seroprevalence in domestic fowl (27%, or 7 of 26) from the urban Bucharest site was not significantly different (P = 0.08, by Fisher's exact test) than rates at three rural sites (50%, or 23 of 46). Serum collected from one of 12 Passeriformes, an Erithacus rubecula, was positive for neutralizing antibody to WN virus. A total of 5,577 mosquitoes representing seven taxa were collected. Culex pipiens pipiens accounted for 96% of the mosquitoes collected. A single virus isolate, RO97-50, was obtained from a pool of 30 Cx. p. pipiens females aspirated from the walls and ceiling of a blockhouse located near the center of Bucharest, resulting in a minimum infection rate of 0.19 per 1,000. Antisera prepared against RO97-50 failed to distinguish among RO97-50, WN virus strain Eg101, and Kunjin (KUN) virus strain MRM16. A 2,323-basepair DNA fragment of the envelope (E) glycoprotein gene from RO97-50 and a Romanian WN virus strain obtained from a human cerebrospinal fluid sample, RO96-1030, were sequenced. Phylogenetic analyses of 23 WN virus strains and one KUN virus strain using the amino acid and nucleotide sequences for a small portion of the E gene suggest the existence of two large lineages of viruses. Bootstrap analysis of the nucleotide alignment indicated strong support (95%) for a lineage composed of WN virus strains from northern Africa, including isolates from Egypt and Algeria, and west, central, and east Africa, all of the European isolates, those from France and Romania, an Israeli isolate, and an isolate of KUN virus from Australia. The nucleotide sequence of RO97-50 was identical to the sequence of a WN virus isolate obtained from Cx. neavei mosquitoes from Senegal and Cx. univittatus mosquitoes from Kenya. The phylogenetic analyses were compatible with the introduction of virus into Romania by birds migrating from sub-Saharan Africa, to northern Africa, and into southern Europe.  (+info)

(3/1412) Update: West Nile-like viral encephalitis--New York, 1999.

The outbreak of human arboviral encephalitis attributable to a mosquito-transmitted West Nile-like virus (WNLV) continues to wane in the Northeast. As of October 5, the number of laboratory-positive cases had increased to 50 (27 confirmed and 23 probable), including five deaths. The increase in cases is mainly a result of completed retesting with West Nile virus antigen of specimens previously tested with the related St. Louis encephalitis virus antigen and to intensive retrospective case finding in the ongoing epidemiologic investigations.  (+info)

(4/1412) Outbreak of West Nile-like viral encephalitis--New York, 1999.

An outbreak of arboviral encephalitis was first recognized in New York City in late August and has since been identified in neighboring counties in New York state. Although initially attributed to St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus based on positive serologic findings in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples using a virus-specific IgM-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), the cause of the outbreak has been confirmed as a West Nile-like virus based on the identification of virus in human, avian, and mosquito samples.  (+info)

(5/1412) The RNA-dependent RNA polymerases of different members of the family Flaviviridae exhibit similar properties in vitro.

The virus-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), which is required for replication of the positive-strand RNA genome, is a key enzyme of members of the virus family Flaviviridae. By using heterologously expressed proteins, we demonstrate that the 77 kDa NS5B protein of two pestiviruses, bovine viral diarrhoea virus and classical swine fever virus, and the 100 kDa NS5 protein of the West Nile flavivirus possess RdRp activity in vitro. As originally shown for the RdRp of hepatitis C virus, RNA synthesis catalysed by the pestivirus and flavivirus enzymes is strictly primer-dependent in vitro. Accordingly, initiation of RNA polymerization on homopolymeric RNAs and heteropolymeric templates, the latter with a blocked 3'-hydroxyl group, was found to be dependent on the presence of complementary oligonucleotide primer molecules. On unblocked heteropolymeric templates, including authentic viral RNAs, the RdRps were shown to initiate RNA synthesis via intramolecular priming at the 3'-hydroxyl group of the template and 'copy-back' transcription, thus yielding RNase-resistant hairpin molecules. Taken together, the RdRps of different members of the Flaviviridae were demonstrated to exhibit a common reactivity profile in vitro, typical of nucleic acid-polymerizing enzymes.  (+info)

(6/1412) Isolation of West Nile virus from mosquitoes, crows, and a Cooper's hawk in Connecticut.

West Nile (WN) virus, a mosquito-transmitted virus native to Africa, Asia, and Europe, was isolated from two species of mosquitoes, Culex pipiens and Aedes vexans, and from brain tissues of 28 American crows, Corvus brachyrhynchos, and one Cooper's hawk, Accipiter cooperii, in Connecticut. A portion of the genome of virus isolates from four different hosts was sequenced and analyzed by comparative phylogenetic analysis. Our isolates from Connecticut were similar to one another and most closely related to two WN isolates from Romania (2.8 and 3.6 percent difference). If established in North America, WN virus will likely have severe effects on human health and on the health of populations of birds.  (+info)

(7/1412) Origin of the West Nile virus responsible for an outbreak of encephalitis in the northeastern United States.

In late summer 1999, an outbreak of human encephalitis occurred in the northeastern United States that was concurrent with extensive mortality in crows (Corvus species) as well as the deaths of several exotic birds at a zoological park in the same area. Complete genome sequencing of a flavivirus isolated from the brain of a dead Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), together with partial sequence analysis of envelope glycoprotein (E-glycoprotein) genes amplified from several other species including mosquitoes and two fatal human cases, revealed that West Nile (WN) virus circulated in natural transmission cycles and was responsible for the human disease. Antigenic mapping with E-glycoprotein-specific monoclonal antibodies and E-glycoprotein phylogenetic analysis confirmed these viruses as WN. This North American WN virus was most closely related to a WN virus isolated from a dead goose in Israel in 1998.  (+info)

(8/1412) Continued transmission of West Nile virus to humans in southeastern Romania, 1997-1998.

After an epidemic of West Nile (WN) virus neurologic infections in southeastern Romania in 1996, human and animal surveillance were established to monitor continued transmission of the virus. During 1997 and 1998, neurologic infections were diagnosed serologically as WN encephalitis in 12 of 322 patients in 19 southeastern districts and in 1 of 75 Bucharest patients. In addition, amid a countrywide epidemic of measles, the etiology of the febrile exanthem in 2 of 180 investigated cases was determined serologically to be WN fever; 1 case was complicated by hepatitis. Sentinel chickens placed in Bucharest seroconverted to WN virus during the summer months, indicating their potential value in monitoring transmission. The continued occurrence of sporadic WN infections in southeastern Romania in consecutive years after the 1996 epidemic is consistent with local enzootic transmission of the virus.  (+info)