In 1999, West Nile virus (WNV) appeared in New York City, marking the most significant beginning of a new, vector-borne human pathogen in the United States over the past century. Throughout North American history, rapid expansion of various modes of travel and commerce have led to the introduction of such vector-borne human pathogens as dengue, yellow fever, plague and malaria. Now, it is West Nile Virus that has captured the attention of infectious disease officials as well as the American public.
In 2003 alone, this illness afflicted more than 9800 individuals resulting in 264 deaths. The wide range of symptoms includes malaise, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, headache, myalgia, and dysphasia, as well affecting the lymph nodes. Patients will seek treatment from their primary care provider; but the ear, nose, and throat specialist may also be required to offer care with those diagnosed with this disorder.
Two U.S. Air Force otolaryngologist—head and neck surgeons are offering their colleagues a primer on West Nile virus, designed specifically to meet the needs of the specialty. The authors of “West Nile Virus: A Primer for the Otolaryngologist,” are Peter G. Michaelson, MD, Captain, USAF, MC, Eric A. Mair, MD, Colonel, USAF, MC, both from the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, San Antonio, TX. Their report is being presented at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, being held September 19-22, 2004, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City, NY.
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