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West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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Infectious agent is an arbovirus, an RNA member of the Flaviviridae family.


  • Vector-borne virus
  • Transmitted by infected mosquitoes in late summer/early fall
  • Wild birds are primary reservoir hosts; humans are infected by cross-feeding mosquitoes.
  • Introduced to Western Hemisphere in 1999; became more widespread owing to vector of Culex mosquito and is now endemic in North America
  • Infection after blood transfusion and solid-organ transplant can occur.
  • There are case reports of occupational exposure and infection of lab workers via percutaneous inoculation.
  • Following recovery, immunity is considered lifelong. Reoccurrence is rare
  • The 2011 outbreak had a mortality rate of 4–5%. Cases were reported in 48 states.

Pregnancy Considerations
Infection via transplacental transmission and breast-feeding has been reported.

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "West Nile Virus." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307299/all/West_Nile_Virus.
West Nile Virus. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307299/all/West_Nile_Virus. Accessed June 27, 2019.
West Nile Virus. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307299/all/West_Nile_Virus
West Nile Virus [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 June 27]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307299/all/West_Nile_Virus.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - West Nile Virus ID - 307299 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307299/all/West_Nile_Virus PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -