NOTE: West Nile Virus Bibliography, 1965-2004 may be viewed by individual sections below or as one complete publication at westnilebib2.htm

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West Nile Virus Bibliography, 1965-2004

February 2003, Updated December 2004

West Nile Virus Fact Sheet


Gregg Goodman                                                           Laudie Baer*

Barbara Buchanan                                                       The College of Information Studies

Jean Larson                                                                  University of Maryland, College Park
Animal Welfare Information Center

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*Updates for 2003 through May 2004 were completed as an independent study requirement for a Masters Degree in Information Management.

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In 1999, an exotic disease emerged in the middle of New York City.  It killed several humans and thousands of native crows.  Viral testing determined that the illness in both humans and animals was caused by the West Nile virus. 

This particular virus is an arbovirus that is endemic in the old world especially Africa.  Until 1999, it had never been observed in the Western hemisphere.  In its native lands, it seldom causes death in either humans or animals.  For some reason, the strain that emerged in New York City is a more deadly strain often causing death via encephalitis in susceptible individuals—the very young, the very old,  the sick, and the immune compromised.  For others, the symptoms of the disease are typically mild. 

It has been determined that some species of mosquitoes—especially Culex and Aedes—can spread the disease from wild birds to other species including many mammals including humans.  The virus is able to winter over in temperate climates in those species of mosquitoes that survive in winter temperatures.  Migratory wild birds often play a role by acting as reservoir of the virus.  Since the birds migrate over great distances, they are proving to be very effective distribution agents.  Infected birds land and feed, they are often bitten by the local mosquito populations and if the mosquito is one that can in turn transmit the virus, then the virus becomes established in a new geographical area.  As a result of this effective disease transmission pattern, the disease has expanded rapidly to other parts of North America since 1999.

Since West Nile virus is an important emerging and rapidly expanding disease of humans and animals, it was decided to compile a bibliography of both the current literature and historical data going back to 1965.  The focus of the scientific literature of this bibliography deals with the virus, its effects on animals, how the mosquito harbors and maintains the virus, how the virus is maintained over the seasons and how disease spreads.  The major topics include: techniques of viral isolation and purification, viral genetics and strain differentiation, mosquito vector biology and behavior, transmission factors, animal species susceptible to the disease, animals as disease sentinels, disease reservoirs, surveillance programs, vector control programs, etc.

There are many other resources available from the biomedical community that deal with the pathobiology of the disease in humans.  Those topics are not addressed in this document.

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The Animal Welfare Information Center,
March 2007