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Western equine encephalitis virus

Western equine encephalitis virus
Virus classification
Group: Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Family: Togaviridae
Genus: Alphavirus
Western equine encephalitis virus
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 A83.1
ICD-9 062.1
MeSH D020241

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 Culiseta.[1] There have been under 700 confirmed cases in the U.S. since 1964.

In the U.S. WEE is seen primarily in states west of the Mississippi River. 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. There is no vaccine for WEE and there are no licensed therapeutic drugs in the U.S. for this infection.

Use as a biological weapon

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 program.[2]

References

  1. Ryan KJ; Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed. ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN 0838585299. 
  2. "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.


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