West Nile Virus - Signs and Symptoms

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What were the signs and symptoms you experienced with West Nile virus?

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What are West Nile virus symptoms and signs?

Mild infections are common with the West Nile virus. Symptoms of a mild infection include fever, headache, and body aches, which are often accompanied by a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

More severe infections are less common and are marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor (sleepiness), disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions, paralysis, and rarely death. West Nile virus meningitis or encephalitis may result in a prolonged recuperation and rehabilitation period, especially in the elderly.

West Nile virus can have some long-term effects after severe illnesses. Memory loss, depression, irritability, and confusion are the most prevalent residual effects.

Patients may also experience difficulty walking, muscle weakness, fatigue, and insomnia.

Symptoms in children are basically the same as symptoms in adults. Children may complain of headache, may have a fever, and may become lethargic.

Since most cases of West Nile virus infection are mild, the prognosis for recovery is generally good. In severe cases, death-rate statistics range from 3%-15% and are highest in the elderly.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

In 2005 I was diagnosed with West Nile virus. I was experiencing body aches and pain in my joints and bones. I had no energy and could not stand for very long. Within a day I started with a low grade fever that elevated quickly and continued for nine straight days. On the ninth day I started sweating where I had to change bed clothes three times. It was like I had stepped out of the shower. Immediately after my fever broke I developed a severe headache that lasted for three days. Then I took pneumonia in both lungs and was very ill for a month. My memory has never been the same. I have word loss and my short term memory is not anywhere as sharp as it was before West Nile. I also have days where I run a low grade fever for no reason with chronic fatigue. I have since developed fibromyalgia and thyroid problems. I have an unexplained amount of infection in my body that shows up in all my blood test.

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Comment from: Ray, 45-54 (Patient) Published: April 11

One weekend I developed chills just before bedtime. Shortly after I began to experience high fever, body ache, and a fairly respectable headache. I had a 4 hour drive the next day, and after getting home I took a long shower, hoping to kick the crud. By nightfall my headache had turned into this crushing migraine (new to me) and the debilitating chills and fever returned with a vengeance. I was useless for the next few days -- weak, low fever on and off, and generally feeling puny. By day three I had a moderate number of itchy little blisters on my knuckles and fingers, like mild poison ivy. Bigger spots than a rash, but not really proper blisters, annoying more than anything. It later occurred to me that all this took place just 7 days after a hunting weekend, where I was out with the skeeters all night, indicating West Nile virus.

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