West Nile virus infects a wide range of animals, including humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats, squirrels, rabbits and birds. It is widely distributed in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
It was first reported in North America in 1999, when there were human fatalities in New York City. Since its arrival in the USA it has spread rapidly across the continent. The virus sometimes causes swelling of the brain, or encephalitis, which can be fatal. It is transmitted by several species of mosquito. Because the mosquitoes feed on so many different creatures the virus spreads quickly in areas where it has been introduced.
"Thousands of cases of West Nile virus have been reported worldwide, but 80% of infected people don't show any symptoms," said Dr Louis A Magnarelli, Director of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in the USA. "It is important to have highly sensitive and specific tests to diagnose infections and also to help track the ecology and epidemiology of West Nile encephalitis."
The US researchers have found that a new test designed to detect antibodies produced by horses is highly effective at diagnosing West Nile virus infections. Compared to the standard test for West Nile virus, the new test is much faster and gives accurate results. It was also useful in confirming past infections.
"Although the methods developed are for diagnosing West Nile virus in horses, the procedures can be easily modified to develop new antibody tests for humans and wildlife," said Dr Magnarelli. "It is essential to test wildlife for infection to determine the ecological and epidemiological aspects of West Nile virus infections in nature so that we can try to control the disease by managing mosquito populations."
Diagnosing West Nile encephalitis in ill horses helps to identify areas where the virus is spreading and to make decisions about vaccinating horses. Laboratory diagnosis can also clarify the cause of undiagnosed neurological disorders.
certain areas and how it spreads."
Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Bacterial Nanosized Speargun Works Like a Power Drill
26.09.2017 | Universität Basel
Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy