West Nile Virus Infection Symptoms
West Nile virus (WNV) is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes to humans. Currently, there are no specific medicines or vaccines to stop WNV. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that WNV infected 2,038 individuals with 94 deaths in the U.S.; only Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Delaware, and New Hampshire reported no human infections.
West Nile Virus Infection Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of the West Nile virus infection range from no symptoms at all to a rapidly fatal brain infection (encephalitis) in some individuals. In areas where the virus is common (for example, Texas), neuroinvasive disease (spread to the brain and nervous system) was infrequent, but in the last few years, the neuroinvasive infections began to outnumber non-neuroinvasive infections.
The symptoms to be aware of about three to 14 days after an infected mosquito bites a person and transmits the West Nile virus are as follows:
West Nile Virus Infection Prognosis
Most people fully recover. In others, particularly the elderly and some young children, the disease can progress to cause encephalitis, meningitis, permanent neurological defects, and infrequently, death.
Prevention of West Nile Virus Infection
Prevention of mosquito bites is key to avoiding infection with West Nile virus. The CDC recommends the following:
If a person develops any of the symptoms described above about three to 14 days after mosquito bite(s) occur, they should seek medical care for diagnosis and treatment. Although there is no specific West Nile virus treatment or vaccine available for humans, medical management and treatment of the symptoms early on may reduce complications or the severity of the disease.
Last Editorial Review: 2/22/2017