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J Clin Virol. 2004 Dec;31(4):289-91.

Persistence of West Nile Virus (WNV) IgM antibodies in cerebrospinal fluid from patients with CNS disease.

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Bureau of Laboratory, Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), 3350 N MLK Blvd, Lansing, MI 48909, USA.


The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) reported 644 laboratory positive human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the 2002 outbreak in the US, of which 559 cases presented with either meningitis or encephalitis. The first line test utilized for diagnosis of WNV infection was the immunoglobulin M (IgM)-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA). We continued testing for WNV even during winter months of the year 2002-2003 due to the awareness of other modes of WNV transmission (blood transfusion, organ transplantation, transplacental, breast milk, and occupational) as well as concern for people traveling to endemic areas. As a result of year-round testing for WNV infections during 2002-2003, we detected WNV IgM-specific antibodies in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens from three patients persisting for 110, 141, and 199 days post acute phase infection in patients with central nervous system (CNS) disease. This is a new observation and there is no published data on the persistence of WNV IgM antibodies in CSF specimens beyond 47 days. Thus, it is important to note that the presence of WNV IgM class antibodies may not always reflect acute phase infection with this virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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