Tag Archives: West Nile Virus

A primer on West Nile Virus

Culex mosquitos (Culex quinquefasciatus shown)...
Culex mosquitos (Culex quinquefasciatus shown) are biological vectors that transmit West Nile Virus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately there has been a lot of coverage about West Nile virus in the news. In fact, for a variety of different factors this is shaping up to potentially be the worst outbreak since the disease peaked in the US in 2003.

Right now in early September we are in the mid-season of West Nile activity and new cases will continue to be reported in the coming weeks. While this is an important disease to be aware of there are some very basic steps that can be taken to protect you from infection. Widespread panic is completely unnecessary as preventative measures are effective despite the lack of approved treatments for this disease.

Keep reading for an overview of the diseases caused by West Nile virus, where it is, and how to disrupt transmission of the virus to prevent infection.

Continue reading A primer on West Nile Virus

Immunofluorescent Microscopy

West Nile Virus in HEK cells 24 hours post infection, 10x magnification. Green is a FITC label on a cytoskeleton marker and red is Cy3 labeling of West Nile Virus. Note viral exclusion from the nucleus. Image by KD Shives.

Today is exciting because I get to do two things.

1: Post the first successful images of West Nile virus infectined cells that I took on my own and

2: Give a basic explanation one of the most visually impressive techniques at our disposal: immunofluorescent microscopy.

For those of you not familiar with fluorescent microscopy this is a very basic image taken with only two fluorophores, or dyes, to color the image. In this image the green color is from FITC and the red comes from Cy3.

So how is it that I can make images that look like this? How do you target the dye to only one part of the cell? Why is all of the cell green and only some parts are red? What is the yellow? Read on for the answers… Continue reading Immunofluorescent Microscopy