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West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes that affect the nervous system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America, and the season typically stretches through summer and into fall.
Most often, the West Nile Virus (WNV) is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. In a very small number of cases, WNV has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding, and mother-to-child during pregnancy. WNV is not spread through casual contact (such as touching, or kissing).
There is no specific treatment for West Nile Virus (WNV) infection. In milder cases, people experience symptoms such as fever and aches that pass on their own, although the illness can last weeks to months. In serious cases, a person may have to be hospitalized and given supportive treatment (e.g. intravenous fluids, help with breathing), along with nursing care. There is no vaccine for WNV, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with partners to develop one.
Yes. West Nile Virus (WNV) can infect just about any animal, including dogs and cats - however, the good news is they rarely, if ever, become sick from the virus. Equines appear to be the only domestic animal adversely affected by WNV, and there is a vaccine available. There is no proof that WNV can be spread from person to person or from animal to person.