Western equine encephalitis viruswestern equine encephalitis virus, eastern equine encephalitis virus
The Western equine encephalomyelitis virus is the causative agent of relatively uncommon viral disease Western equine encephalomyelitis WEE An Alphavirus of the family Togaviridae, the WEE virus is an arbovirus arthropod-borne virus transmitted by mosquitoes of the genera Culex and Culiseta2 WEE is a recombinant virus between two other alphaviruses, an ancestral Sindbis virus-like virus, and an ancestral Eastern equine encephalitis virus-like virus There have been under 700 confirmed cases in the US since 1964 This virus contains an envelope that is made up of glycoproteins and nucleic acids The virus is transmitted to people and horses by bites from infected mosquitoes Culex tarsalis and birds during wet, summer months3
In the US WEE is seen primarily in states and Canadian provinces west of the Mississippi River3 The disease is also seen in countries of South America WEE is commonly a subclinical infection; symptomatic infections are uncommon However, the disease can cause serious sequelae in infants and children Unlike Eastern equine encephalitis, the overall mortality of WEE is low approximately 4% and is associated mostly with infection in the elderly Approximately 15-20% of horses that acquire the virus will die or be put down3 There is no vaccine for WEE and there are no licensed therapeutic drugs in the US for this infection According to the CDC, geographic occurrence for this virus is worldwide, and tends to be more prevalent in places in and around swampy areas where human populations tend to be limited The virus affects the brain and spinal cord of the infected host
- 1 History
- 2 Use as a biological weapon
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
WEE was discovered in 1930 when a number of horses in the San Joaquin Valley of California, USA died of a mysterious encephalitis Karl Friedrich Meyer investigated but was not able to isolate the pathogen from necropsies of horses that had been dead for some time and needed samples from an animal in the earlier stages of disease When the team heard of a horse that appeared to have encephalitis, its owner threatened to shoot the scientists However Meyer was able to convince the farmer's wife that the horse was dying anyway, and to secretly signal him when the farmer was asleep in exchange for $20 as this was during the Great Depression, this was a substantial amount of money Meyer and his colleagues hid in the bushes until the signal, euthanized the horse and stole its head They successfully isolated WEEV from the brain tissue4
Use as a biological weaponedit
Western equine encephalitis virus was one of more than a dozen agents that the United States researched as potential biological weapons before the nation suspended its biological weapons program5
- Eastern equine encephalitis virus
- ^ Sherman, M B; Weaver, S C 2010 "Structure of the Recombinant Alphavirus Western Equine Encephalitis Virus Revealed by Cryoelectron Microscopy" Journal of Virology 84 19: 9775–9782 PMC 2937749 PMID 20631130 doi:101128/JVI00876-10
- ^ Ryan KJ; Ray CG editors 2004 Sherris Medical Microbiology 4th ed McGraw Hill ISBN 0-8385-8529-9 CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link
- ^ a b c "Western Equine Encephalitis Fact Sheet - Minnesota Dept of Health" wwwhealthstatemnus Retrieved 2016-12-04
- ^ Sabin, Albert 1980 "Karl Friedrich Meyer: 1884–1974" PDF Biogr Mem Natl Acad Sci Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences 52: 269–332 PMID 11620787
- ^ "Chemical and Biological Weapons: Possession and Programs Past and Present", James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury College, April 9, 2002, accessed 31 March 2010
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC Fact Sheet
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