Lessons Learned from West Nile Virus Infection:Vaccinations in Equines and Their Implications for One Health Approaches.

14 May 2024
Naveed A, Eertink LG, Wang D, Li F
Humans and equines are two dead-end hosts of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus (WNV) with similar susceptibility and pathogenesis. Since the introduction of WNV vaccines into equine populations of the United States of America (USA) in late 2002, there have been only sporadic cases of WNV infection in equines. These cases are generally attributed to unvaccinated and under-vaccinated equines. In contrast, due to the lack of a human WNV vaccine, WNV cases in humans have remained steadily high. An average of 115 deaths have been reported per year in the USA since the first reported case in 1999. Therefore, the characterization of protective immune responses to WNV and the identification of immune correlates of protection in vaccinated equines will provide new fundamental information about the successful development and evaluation of WNV vaccines in humans. This review discusses the comparative epidemiology, transmission, susceptibility to infection and disease, clinical manifestation and pathogenesis, and immune responses of WNV in humans and equines. Furthermore, prophylactic and therapeutic strategies that are currently available and under development are described. In addition, the successful vaccination of equines against WNV and the potential lessons for human vaccine development are discussed.