|Health authorities in Cordoba [Argentina] have confirmed several West Nile encephalitis cases, a severe disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which, until now, has not been recorded in humans in the country.
This reports one case in the city of Marcos Juarez in Cordoba province and 3 additional cases in Chaco province, according to the press in this city. The case occurred in March in a man of 58 years but was only recently confirmed by laboratory tests. The man had not traveled outside the country in recent years, inferring that the disease was contracted locally.
The West Nile virus confirmatory tests were done by the Instituto Julio Maiztegui in Pergamino, Buenos Aires, and referred to the CDC
international reference center in Puerto Rico.
Cordoba has marked climatic seasons, so that in the summer season Culex vectors proliferate. So for Cordoba, and the rest of South America, the occurrence of human West Nile virus cases was just a question of time.
It is now clear that West Nile virus has spread to various parts of South America, and likely has become endemic there. A hemisphere-wide surveillance and reporting system, perhaps operated through the Pan American Health Organization, would be useful to
national and local health authorities, and provide a useful basis for vaccination of equines and for focused vector control efforts.
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