Thursday, October 25, 2007

West Nile Virus Update for the Western Hemisphere

In Canada, health officials believe the WNV transmission season is ending with the onset of colder weather! The number of birds being submitted for testing is decreasing (at least in Canada, I think), and no new WNV positivies are being reported.

But...did you know that in the US, WN fever is NOT currently on the list of nationally notifiable disease due to the less sever cases that show no evidence of neuroinvasion that are typical of the WN fever? However, West Nile meningitis and West Nile encephalitis do refer to severe disease cases where the virus does invade the brain. Either way, it is optional whether or not state health departments in the US have to report West Nile fever cases to the CDC.

But data is being collected on a weekly basis from state and local health departments. Pretty much all the states (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Maine - hmm may have missed one. I had to read the list while singing the 50 state song in my head to see which ones weren't listed) have cases report of human, avian, animal, or mosquito WNV infections. I had no idea the virus was that well spread in the US!

Check it out on PROMed.

Julia Liebner

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