West Nile Virus
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- West Nile virus facts
- What is the history of West Nile virus?
- Where did the West Nile virus come from?
- How do people get West Nile virus?
- How do mosquitoes get infected with the West Nile virus?
- Can one person contract the virus from another?
- Besides mosquitoes, can other insects transmit the West Nile virus?
- Are there any other viruses around like the West Nile virus?
- What are West Nile virus symptoms and signs?
- When is there an increased risk for infection?
- Who is at risk for getting West Nile virus?
- What is the treatment for West Nile virus? Can West Nile virus be prevented with a vaccine?
- Is a woman's pregnancy at risk if she gets West Nile virus?
- What can a community do to reduce the risk of an outbreak of the West Nile virus?
- What can a person do to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the West Nile virus?
- West Nile Virus Slideshow Pictures
- Take the MRSA Quiz
- Infectious Mononucleosis Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: West Nile Virus - Cause
- Patient Comments: West Nile Virus - Treatment
- Patient Comments: West Nile Virus - Signs and Symptoms
West Nile virus facts
- West Nile is a virus capable of causing disease in humans.
- Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands.
- Severe symptoms may include stiff neck, sleepiness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis.
- Most cases of West Nile virus are mild and go unreported.
- A key feature of neuroinvasive West Nile virus disease is encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
- The virus is carried from infected birds to people by mosquitoes.
- There is no evidence for transmission from person to person.
- West Nile virus first gained attention in the U.S. in 1999 after an outbreak in New York City. Since then, outbreaks have occurred in 47 states.
- Use of insect repellents may help reduce the risk of becoming infected with the West Nile virus.
What is the history of West Nile virus?
West Nile encephalitis is an infection of the brain that is caused by a virus known as the West Nile virus. First identified in Uganda in 1937, the virus is commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. "Encephalitis" means inflammation of the brain. One of the causes of encephalitis is viral and bacterial infections, including viral infections transmitted by mosquitoes.
West Nile virus had not been previously reported in the U.S. prior to an outbreak in New York in September 1999. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since 1999 more than 30,000 people have been reported with West Nile virus. More than 1,200 have died.
As of August 2012, an outbreak of 1,118 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed by the CDC. This is the highest number of reported West Nile virus cases since the virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999. Of those, 56% of patients developed neuroinvasive disease (involvement of the brain and nervous system), the most severe form of West Nile virus infection. The CDC reports neuroinvasive disease was reported by 47 states. Approximately 75% of the cases have been reported from five states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma), and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas, many in the Dallas area.
Among all people who become infected with West Nile virus, most have mild symptoms that do not get reported. Typically, less than 1% will actually develop severe neuroinvasive disease, according to the CDC.
West Nile virus infection is also called West Nile fever or West Nile encephalitis.
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