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Viruses. 2013 Sep 25;5(10):2329-48. doi: 10.3390/v5102329.

Diagnosis of west nile virus human infections: overview and proposal of diagnostic protocols considering the results of external quality assessment studies.

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Operative Unit of Clinical Microbiology, Regional Reference Centre for Microbiological Emergencies, S. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna 40138, Italy.


West Nile virus, genus Flavivirus, is transmitted between birds and occasionally other animals by ornithophilic mosquitoes. This virus also infects humans causing asymptomatic infections in about 85% of cases and <1% of clinical cases progress to severe neuroinvasive disease. The virus also presents a threat since most infections remain unapparent. However, the virus contained in blood and organs from asymptomatically infected donors can be transmitted to recipients of these infectious tissues. This paper reviews the presently available methods to achieve the laboratory diagnosis of West Nile virus infections in humans, discussing the most prominent advantages and disadvantages of each in light of the results obtained during four different External Quality Assessment studies carried out by the European Network for 'Imported' Viral Diseases (ENIVD).

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