WNV continues to spread throughout the Western Hemisphere as virus activity in insects and animals has been reported in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands. West Nile virus (WNV) infects the central nervous system and causes severe disease primarily in humans who are immunocompromised or elderly. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms by which the immune system limits dissemination of WNV infection. Recent experimental studies in animals suggest important roles for both the innate and the adaptive immune responses in controlling WNV infection. Interferons, antibody, complement components and CD8+ T cells coordinate protection against severe infection and disease. These findings are analyzed in the context of recent approaches to vaccine development and immunotherapy against WNV.