West Nile Encephalitis (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- 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
What are West Nile virus symptoms and signs?
Mild infections are common with the West Nile virus. Symptoms of a mild infection include fever, headache, and body aches, which are often accompanied by a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.
More severe infections are less common and are marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor (sleepiness), disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions, paralysis, and rarely death. West Nile virus meningitis or encephalitis may result in a prolonged recuperation and rehabilitation period, especially in the elderly.
West Nile virus can have some long-term effects after severe illnesses. Memory loss, depression, irritability, and confusion are the most prevalent residual effects.
Patients may also experience difficulty walking, muscle weakness, fatigue, and insomnia.
Symptoms in children are basically the same as symptoms in adults. Children may complain of headache, may have a fever, and may become lethargic.
Since most cases of West Nile virus infection are mild, the prognosis for recovery is generally good. In severe cases, death-rate statistics range from 3%-15% and are highest in the elderly.
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