West Nile Mimics Polio

Image: Erica P. Johnson MORE MOSQUITO MAYHEM: The list of symptoms now associated with West Nile virus includes a condition reminiscent of paralytic poliomyelitis. The background is an electron micrograph of the poliovirus. When the West Nile virus arrived in the United States in 1999, its route of infection was the bite of an infected mosquito. Since then, WNV has proven its versatility: During the 2002 season, delivery came courtesy of transplants, transfusions, and breast milk. Now, t

Ricki Lewis
Nov 24, 2002
Image: Erica P. Johnson
 MORE MOSQUITO MAYHEM: The list of symptoms now associated with West Nile virus includes a condition reminiscent of paralytic poliomyelitis. The background is an electron micrograph of the poliovirus.

When the West Nile virus arrived in the United States in 1999, its route of infection was the bite of an infected mosquito. Since then, WNV has proven its versatility: During the 2002 season, delivery came courtesy of transplants, transfusions, and breast milk. Now, the list of symptoms is growing to include a condition reminiscent of paralytic poliomyelitis. In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first six cases--three from Mississippi, three from Louisiana.1 The number is now at least 15.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a joint Senate Committee Hearing on Sept. 24 that the new link was a surprise. "Clinically, if...