West Nile virus, a widely distributed mosquito-borne flavivirus, is responsible for numerous animal and human infections in Europe, Africa and the Americas. In Hungary, the average number of human infections falls between 10 and 20 cases each year. The severity of clinically manifesting infections varies widely from the milder form of West Nile fever to West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND). In routine laboratory diagnosis of human West Nile virus infections, serological methods are mainly applied due to the limited duration of viremia. However, recent studies suggest that detection of West Nile virus RNA in urine samples may be useful as a molecular diagnostic test for these infections. The Hungarian National Reference Laboratory for Viral Zoonoses serologically confirmed eleven acute human infections during the 2014 seasonal period. In three patients with neurological symptoms, viral RNA was detected from both urine and serum specimens, albeit for a longer period and in higher copy numbers with urine. Phylogenetic analysis of the NS3 genomic region of three strains and the complete genome of one selected strain demonstrated that all three patients had lineage-2 West Nile virus infections. Our findings reaffirm the utility of viral RNA detection in urine as a molecular diagnostic procedure for diagnosis of West Nile virus infections.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 2, 2016
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