Persistent infections of mammals and mammalian cell cultures with West Nile virus

Shannan L. Rossi, Peter W. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Before 1990, West Nile virus (WNV) was considered to be one of many arthropod-borne viruses that caused mild febrile illness in man. However, in the 1990s, the virus was associated with severe CNS disease that produced mortality in horses and man in Europe. In 1999, WNV was identified as the etiologic agent of an outbreak of human and avian encephalitis in New York City (NY, USA). Like many other Flaviviridae family members, WNV is generally considered to cause acute infections, however, persistent WNV infections have been observed in laboratory-infected animals and in human patients. These persistent infections could be facilitated by changes to the viral genome that allow the virus to evade detection by the host cell, a property that has been studied in cell culture. This review highlights our current knowledge of persistent WNV infections in vitro and in vivo, and speculates on how persistence could influence virus transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalFuture Virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Adaptive mutations
  • Flavivirus
  • Immune response
  • Pathogenesis
  • Persistence
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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