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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 376230, 20 pages
Review Article

The Global Ecology and Epidemiology of West Nile Virus

United States Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, USA

Received 24 June 2014; Accepted 10 August 2014

Academic Editor: Michael J. Conway

Copyright © 2015 Caren Chancey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since its initial isolation in Uganda in 1937 through the present, West Nile virus (WNV) has become an important cause of human and animal disease worldwide. WNV, an enveloped virus of the genus Flavivirus, is naturally maintained in an enzootic cycle between birds and mosquitoes, with occasional epizootic spillover causing disease in humans and horses. The mosquito vectors for WNV are widely distributed worldwide, and the known geographic range of WNV transmission and disease has continued to increase over the past 77 years. While most human infections with WNV are asymptomatic, severe neurological disease may develop resulting in long-term sequelae or death. Surveillance and preventive measures are an ongoing need to reduce the public health impact of WNV in areas with the potential for transmission.