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West Nile Virus (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes mainly during summer months and generally only appears between the months of May to October. Rarely transmission via blood transfusions, organ transplants, and mother-to-fetus or mother-to-infant from breastfeeding has been reported.

  • People who experience signs or symptoms of serious illness, and who have been bitten by a mosquito in the geographic area where West Nile virus is known to appear, should see their doctor immediately.
  • Most people with mild symptoms of low-grade fever and muscle aches do not have West Nile virus and will not require specific diagnostic testing.

Anyone who has symptoms of severe illness such as mental status changes, high fever, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, or confusion should go to the hospital's emergency department immediately. The West Nile encephalitis that occurred during the initial New York outbreak was especially notable for its severe muscle weakness. This is another important warning symptom.

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West Nile Encephalitis »

West Nile encephalitis (WNE) is distinguished from other arthropod-borne causes of viral encephalitis (eg, western equine encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis [EEE], Japanese encephalitis, Venezuelan encephalitis) based on its geographic distribution, clinical features, and laboratory findings.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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