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West Nile Virus

What is West Nile Virus?

A mosquito-transmitted virus can cause the most cases of West Nile infection. Most of the people that are infected with West Nile Virus either don’t develop any signs and symptoms or may have mild symptoms such as fever and mild headache. However, in some people, it is noted that they develop a life-threatening illness that includes inflammation of the spinal cord or brain.

Commonly mild signs and symptoms of a West Nile Virus go away on their own. However, severe signs and symptoms such as severe headache, fever, disorientation, or sudden weakness require immediate treatment.

Exposure to mosquitoes where the West Nile Virus exists a higher risk of getting the infection. So, it is important to protect yourself from mosquitoes, this can be done by using mosquito repellent and wearing clothes that cover your skin to prevent the West Nile Virus infection.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

The first symptoms of the new West Nile Virus typically show within 3-14 days of being bitten. Approx. 20 percent of people develop a mild infection. The signs and symptoms of a new West Nile Virus can include:

Mild sign and symptoms of new West Nile Virus don’t last as long and may confuse with common flu, mild symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Body rashes


Severe symptoms of new West Nile Virus may include:

  • Fever
  • Disorientation and Confusion
  • Convulsion
  • Muscle weakness or partial paralysis
  • Stiff neck
  • Numbness
  • Vision loss
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Seizures


A severe infection may last for several weeks. A severe infection can cause permanent brain damage in rare cases.

Causes of West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne infection.  

Usually, the West Nile Virus spread by infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes bite an infected bird and then bites a human being or another animal. The virus also spread the infection by blood transfusion, organ transplant, breastfeeding or by a pregnant woman to her child. West Nile Virus cannot be spread by touching or kissing an infected person.

neil virus cause

Risk factors of West Nile Virus

Anyone bitten by an infected mosquito can have a risk of getting the West Nile Virus. In case you are infected the risk of developing serious West Nile Virus related illness is very low- less than 1% of individuals who are infected become severely ill. In most cases people who get sick recover fully.

Age is one of the most significant risk factors for developing severe signs and symptoms from a West Neil Infection. People more than the age of 60 years are more likely to develop a severe symptom of the West Nile Virus.

Certain medical conditions can also put you at a greater risk of developing symptoms of the West Nile Virus. These medical conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Impaired immune system
  • Kidney disorder

Diagnosis of West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus can be diagnosed by a simple blood test in most of the cases. This blood test can determine whether you have genetic material or antibodies in your blood that are associated with the West Nile Virus.

In case you have severe and brain-related symptoms of West Nile Virus, your doctor may recommend lumbar puncture also called a spinal tap. This test is done by inserting a needle into your spine to take out fluid.

The white blood cell count in the fluid may be elevated by the West Nile Virus, which will indicate an infection.

CT scans and MRI scans are also useful to detect inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Treatment for West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus doesn’t have a cure because it’s a viral condition, but pain relievers can be taken to relieve the symptoms of West Nile Virus such as headaches and muscle aches.

Most of the people infected with West Nile Virus recover without any special treatment. However, most severe cases require supportive therapy such as pain medications and intravenous fluids to lower the infection.

Research is currently being done on interferon therapy for the West Nile virus. Interferon therapy is aimed at using substances produced by your immune system to treat encephalitis in people infected by the West Nile virus. The research isn’t conclusive about the use of these therapies for encephalitis, but studies are promising.

Research is presently being done on interferon therapy for West Nile Virus. Interferon therapy is planned for utilizing substances created by your immune system to treat encephalitis in individuals infected by the West Nile Virus. The research isn’t decisive about the utilization of these therapies for encephalitis; however, studies are promising.

Other potential treatments that are being researched for West Nile-related encephalitis include:

  • polyclonal immunoglobulin intravenous (IGIV)
  • WEST NILE VIRUS recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody (MGAWN1)
  • Corticosteroids

Prevention of West Nile Virus

Each mosquito bite can increase the risk of your infection. Following these steps can help you to prevent West Nile Virus each time you go out:

  • Apply mosquito repellent cream
  • Keep your skin covered by wearing long sleeve clothes.
  • Avoid standing water around your home
  • Use mosquito nettings, etc.


The mosquito bites are most common in the month of August and September. The risk of the West Nile Virus can be decreased in winters because mosquitoes can’t survive in cold temperatures.

Report any dead birds you see to your neighborhood health organization. Try not to contact or handle these birds. Dead birds can undoubtedly give the West Nile Virus to mosquitoes, which can pass it to people even with a single bite. On the off chance that any signs of the infection are found in the zone around the bird, the health organization will probably expand bug control movement or pesticide use. These activities can prevent the spread of the virus before it’s given to people.