Study on West Nile virus persistence in monkeys

Arch Virol. 1983;75(1-2):71-86. doi: 10.1007/BF01314128.


Experiments in M. rhesus showed persistence to be a typical property of West Nile virus. This property was exhibited by strains belonging to different antigenic types, and varying in virulence and in the isolation area (U.S.S.R., Uganda, India). The duration of persistence was at least 5 1/2 months in asymptomatic infection and in convalescence after encephalitis or a febrile disease. The virus isolated within the first 2 weeks after inoculation of monkeys has the standard properties. The virus persisting for 2 months retains its cytopathic and antigenic activity, however, is non-pathogenic for white mice. After 5 1/2 months of persistence the virus has no neurovirulence or cytopathic properties but is capable of infecting the susceptible cells and induces in them the synthesis of virus-specific antigen detectable by immunofluorescence. The persisting virus has been isolated by cocultivation of trypsinized monkey organ cells and cells of the indicator culture. This virus was located mostly in the cerebellum, cerebral subcortical ganglia, lymph nodes, and kidneys. The monkeys experiencing encephalitis, febrile, or asymptomatic infection showed in morphological examinations a subacute inflammatory-degenerative process in the central nervous system. The results suggest that West Nile virus, one of the most widely spread arboviruses in Africa, Asia, and Europe, may be implicated in the etiology of subacute diseases of the CNS.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Antibody Formation
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Encephalitis / microbiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Togaviridae Infections / microbiology*
  • Viremia / microbiology
  • West Nile Fever / immunology
  • West Nile Fever / microbiology*
  • West Nile Fever / pathology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral