Demographic characteristics associated with West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease – A retrospective study on the wider European area 2006–2021

Nicola Riccetti, Federico Ferraccioli, Augusto Fasano, Nikolaos I. Stilianakis

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Background With a case-fatality-risk ranging from 3.0 to >20.0% and life-long sequelae, West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND) is the most dangerous outcome of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in humans. As no specific prophylaxis nor therapy is available for these infections, focus is on preventive strategies. We aimed to find variables associated with WNND diagnosis, hospitalisation or death, to identify high-risk sub-groups of the population, on whom to concentrate these strategies. Methods We used data from The European Surveillance System–TESSy, provided by National Public Health Authorities, and released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In two Firth-penalised logistic regression models, we considered age, sex, clinical criteria, epidemiological link to other cases (epi-link), calendar year, and season as potential associated variables. In one model we considered also the rural/urban classification of the place of infection (RUC), while in the other the specific reporting country. Findings Among confirmed West Nile Virus cases, 2,916 WNND cases were registered, of which 2,081 (71.4%), and 383 (13.1%) resulted in the hospitalisation and death of the patient, respectively. Calendar year, RUC/country, age, sex, clinical criteria, and epi-link were associated with WNND diagnosis. Hospitalisation was associated with calendar year and RUC/ country; whereas death was associated with age, sex and country. Interpretation Our results support previous findings on WNND associated variables (most notably age and sex); while by observing the whole population of WNND cases in the considered area and period, they also allow for stronger generalizations, conversely to the majority of previous studies, which used sample populations.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-14
Numero di pagine14
RivistaPLoS One
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2023


  • Firth penalization
  • Logistic regression
  • West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease


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