Since its initial outbreak in 1999, West Nile virus has become endemic across most of the United States. Although many patients will be asymptomatic after infection, approximately 40% of reported cases of West Nile fever through 2005 had some form of neuroinvasive disease. Of the survivors, there is varying disease sequelae, including fatigue, myalgias, paresthesias, and other neurologic symptoms. Of interest, patients who have similarly severe disease requiring hospitalization have varying degrees of disease sequelae on recovery. There may be a difference in the immune response between survivors. One approach would be to study the cytokine expression profile of reactivated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in patients with neuroinvasive disease using microarray techniques. Currently, there is a lack of published research looking at the immunology of infection in these patients. The aim of this study is to determine the feasibility of reactivating peripheral blood mononuclear cells of West Nile fever survivors in preparation for further studies looking at specific cytokine profiles of survivors. This approach could reveal patterns of immune response and regulation that could one day be instituted into new therapies to help alleviate the symptoms of this increasingly prevalent viral infection.
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