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Keywords:

  • Clinical features;
  • emerging infections;
  • epidemiology;
  • mosquito-borne infections;
  • prevention;
  • West Nile virus

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus in the Japanese encephalitis antigenic group, has caused sporadic outbreaks in humans, horses and birds throughout many of the warmer regions of Europe for at least 20 years. Occasional cases of West Nile encephalitis have also been associated with infected blood transfusions and organ donations. Currently, WNV appears to be expanding its geographical range in Europe and causing increasing numbers of epidemics/outbreaks associated with human morbidity and mortality. This brief review reports on the current epidemic situation regarding WNV in Europe, highlighting the clinical, diagnostic and preventive measures available for controlling this apparently emerging human pathogen.