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West Nile Virus (cont.)

What Is the Prognosis for West Nile Virus and West Nile Encephalitis?

The prognosis of West Nile virus is directly related to the severity of the illness and the age of the person with the infection.

  • Those with mild infection recover fully with no permanent disability.
  • Death occurs in about 10%-12% of people with West Nile encephalitis (WNE), but only about one of 150-250 people who are infected will develop WNE. The elderly are at highest risk for death. Younger people recover much more quickly and are much less likely to show signs and symptoms of severe illness. In some patients, symptoms possibly due to WNV persisted up to eight years after infection. Data from 2016 indicate the incidence of serious and even fatal West Nile virus may be significantly underestimated.

West Nile Virus and West Nile Encephalitis Pictures

The Culex mosquito, common to the Eastern United States, is the primary vector responsible for infecting humans with West Nile virus. Prevention of West Nile virus infection is primarily directed at reducing the mosquito population from May to October and by taking precautions to limit human exposure during these months of high mosquito activity; SOURCE: CDC
The Culex mosquito, common to the Eastern United States, is the primary vector responsible for infecting humans with West Nile virus. Prevention of West Nile virus infection is primarily directed at reducing the mosquito population from May to October and by taking precautions to limit human exposure during these months of high mosquito activity; SOURCE: CDC Click to view larger image.

Cumulative data for West Nile virus, Jan. 14, 2015; SOURCE: CDC
Cumulative data for West Nile virus, Jan. 14, 2015; SOURCE: CDC Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCES:

Salinas, Jess D. "West Nile Virus." Medscape.com. July 30, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/
article/312210-overview#aw2aab6b2b3>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "West Nile Virus." Jan. 30, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "West Nile Virus: FAQ: General Questions About West Nile Virus." Nov. 22, 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/genQuestions.html#vaccine>.


Last Reviewed 11/21/2017

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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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