ROCHESTER, Minn. — As the peak transmission season of the West Nile virus reaches its midpoint, Mayo Clinic Proceedings has released via the Web a manuscript prior to publication, so clinicians and the public can quickly access the latest information on the disease.
"Given the recent proliferation of the West Nile virus, clinicians will likely benefit from a brief, well-organized review of the latest data on the epidemiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of infections," says William Lanier, M.D., editor-in-chief of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "To assist with both physician and patient education, the Proceedings has released to its Web site a 'Concise Review for Clinicians' entitled 'West Nile Virus: Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, Diagnosis and Prevention.' This early release of information to the journal's Web site will precede print publication of the article, which is scheduled for Sept. 1, 2003."
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The timing of the early release of the Proceedings review article is in response to a recent, dramatic increase in the rate and geographical distributions of West Nile virus infections. Last year, health officials saw a rapid expansion of the virus when it went from 10 states in 2001 to 39 states, plus Washington, D.C. It caused 284 deaths in 2002 compared to nine in 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2003, West Nile virus infections have already been identified in 42 states and, at the current rate of reporting, the number of infections is expected to surpass that of 2002.
The journal's review of the West Nile virus includes the most current epidemiology, virology, transmission, management and prevention of the disease in humans, as well as the disease's effects on animals. There is no specific treatment or vaccine against West Nile virus. The most common way people are infected is through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. The virus is not transmitted from person to person through mosquito bites. However, five new modes of virus transmission were recognized in 2002, including blood transfusion, organ transplantation, breast-feeding, the placenta of a mother to the fetus, and injuries to laboratory workers.
The review article by Priya Sampathkumar, M.D., a specialist in infectious diseases at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., can be accessed at http://www.mayo.edu/proceedings/2003/sep/7809crc.pdf. It will be published in the September issue of the journal.
A peer-reviewed journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is published monthly by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to the medical education of physicians. The journal has been published for more than 75 years and has a circulation of 130,000 nationally and internationally.