RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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West Nile virus particles, artwork. West Nile virus (WNV) is known to cause encephalitis in humans. The WNV belongs to the flavivirus group, which are RNA viruses that are surrounded by an outer protein envelope (red). This envelope surrounds an underlying membrane (blue), which in turn encloses the nucleocapsid (yellow), which carries the genetic material. WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes and infects both humans and animals. Symptoms can range from a mild fever to spontaneous bleeding of the skin and circulatory failure, which are often fatal.
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