West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus Symptoms

West Nile virus is a disease that is usually transmitted by mosquitoes. It has been common in Africa, west Asia and the Middle East for decades and has been slowly traveling across the United States since 1999.

It is very rare to catch this illness, and most infected people will not get sick or will have only mild symptoms. However, West Nile virus can be fatal. We want you to have the facts, in order to ease your fears, and so that you can take appropriate prevention measures.

Common mild symptoms of West Nile include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Skin rash on the trunk of the body
  • Swollen lymph glands

Severe symptoms include: (West Nile, encephalitis or meningitis) 

  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Stupor
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis

It is estimated that one in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the incubation period in humans (i.e., time from infection to onset of disease symptoms) for West Nile encephalitis?

Answer: Approximately three to 14 days

Question: How long will symptoms last?

Answer: Symptoms of mild disease will generally last a few days. Symptoms of severe disease may last several weeks, although neurological effects may be permanent.

Question: What should I do if I think I have been infected with West Nile?

Answer: Contact your physician

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