Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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We present the findings of a six-year surveillance period (2005-2010) of human West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Tel Aviv district, Israel. Initial notifications of positively identified patients received from the Central Virology Laboratory were followed by epidemiological investigations of the local district health office. During 2005-2010, 104 patients, 79 with WNV neuroinvasive and 25 with WNV non-neuroinvasive disease were reported. The median age of the patients with a neuroinvasive disease was 74 years (range: 15 to 95 years) and 53 of such patients had encephalitis, 14 had acute flaccid paralysis, and 12 had meningitis. The case-fatality rate in these patients was 8%. The average annual incidence of neuroinvasive disease during 2005-2010 was 1.08 per 100,000 population. The incidence declined by 86% steadily between 2005 and 2009 (p for trend=0.005), but increased by more than six-fold in 2010. Elderly (≥65 years) men, comprising 25 patients of whom 24 were chronically-ill, had the highest incidence of WNV encephalitis (p<0.001). These findings are concordant with previous data, at the national level, published in Israel and the United States. Notably, the percentage of previously healthy patients, who developed a neuroinvasive disease was the highest (37%, p=0.001) in the surveillance period in 2010.


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