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West Nile virus

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A species of the genus flavivirus that causes West Nile fever, which is characterized by symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle weakness, and sometimes encephalitis or meningitis


West Nile virus is a species of the genus Flavivirus. Flavivirus is a genus of the family Flaviviridae (also known as group b arbovirus) containing several subgroups and species. Most of them are arboviruses, which mean they are transmitted by an arthropod species such as mosquitoes and ticks. These viruses are characterized by having a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA of about 10,000 to 11,000 bases encased in an icosahedral envelope. The disease is endemic in Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, and parts of North America.

The hosts of West Nile virus include mosquitoes (e.g. Cules pipiens, Culex tarsalis, and Culex quinquefasciatus), birds (preferentially, the American crow, corvid, and the American robin, and humans. The virus is a 45 to 50 nm virion. It is covered with a relatively smooth protein surface. The West Nile virus has a positive-sense, single strand of RNA with nucleotides ranging from 11,000 to 12,000. The genome codes for the three structural proteins and seven non-structural proteins.

Abbreviation / Acronym:

  • WNV

Scientific classification:

  • Family: Flaviviridae
  • Genus: Flavivirus

See also: