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West Nile Fever – An Emerging And Re-Emerging Infectious Viral Metazoonosis

Mahendra Pal Raj Kumar Singh R. A.Hazarika
Vol 4(1) 1-9

In recent years, many emerging and re-emerging zoonoses which resulted in high morbidity and mortality in humans and animals have attracted the attention of international and national authorities.Among several zoonotic diseases, West Nile fever is an important viral metazoonosis from public health and economic point of view. The disease is caused by West Nile virus which was first isolated from human blood in 1937 from Uganda. The virus is reported in humans and in a wide variety of animals including equines from many countries of world including India, Europe, Africa and USA. The bite of infected mosquitoes belonging to the genus Culex is the principal mode of disease transmission both in humans as well animals. Disease in man is characterized by fever, cephalalgia, pain in eyes, muscles and joints, lymphadenopathy, meningoencephalitis and maculopapular eruption mainly on trunk. Diagnosis of West Nile fever can be established by virus isolation from clinical materials and detection of virus specific antibodies in the serum of patients. RT-PCR can also be tried to make a rapid diagnosis. Since it is a metazoonosis, measures to control the mosquitoes, wearing protective clothing, and use of repellent cream will certainly reduce the incidence of West Nile fever. We are of the opinion that active surveillance of disease in humans, birds, animals, and vector (mosquito) is imperative to forecast emergence and re-emergence of this important viral metazoonosis. In addition, involvement of public health veterinarian in the control of zoonoses programme is also emphasized.

Keywords : Horse Metazoonosis Mosquito Public health West Nile disease

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