A decade has passed since the appearance of West Nile virus (WNV) in humans in the Western Hemisphere in New York City. During this interval, WNV spread inexorably throughout North and South America and caused millions of infections ranging from a sub-clinical illness, to a self-limiting febrile syndrome or lethal neuroinvasive disease. Its entry into the United States triggered intensive research into the basic biology of WNV and the elements that comprise a protective host immune response. Although no therapy is currently approved for use in humans, several strategies are being pursued to develop effective prophylaxis and treatments. This review describes the current state of knowledge on epidemiology, clinical presentation, pathogenesis, and immunobiology of WNV infection, and highlights progress toward an effective therapy.
- West Nile virus