Alert after boy dies of West Nile fever

Prelims level : Health / Biotech Mains level : GS - III
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A six-year-old in Kerala, who had tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), died in Kozhikode.

About West Nile Virus:

  • • West Nile virus (WNV) is an infectious virus spread by infected mosquitoes. It spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito.
  • The symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands.
  • The symptoms can lead to St. Louis encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis and yellow fever.
  • Humans, horses and other mammals can be infected.

Global spread:

  • • West Nile virus was first isolated in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937.
  • • WNV is commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia.
  • The virus is now widely reported from Canada to Venezuela.

Spread in India:

  • • WNV is highly prevalent in India since 1970s. It had been reported from states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat,Odisha.
  • Presence of WNV was documented in north- eastern region of India during the year 2006 from four districts of Assam.


  • • There are no specific vaccines or treatments for human WNV disease.
  • • The best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
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