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 infection 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 that does not itch 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, joint pain, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and insomnia.

Symptoms in children and babies 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 rates are highest in the elderly.

Return to West Nile Virus

See what others are saying

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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Comment from: Trisha, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

I got West Nile virus last August as well as meningitis and encephalitis. I was in the hospital for a month. I almost died, they called the family in to say goodbye. If I lived I"d be coloring books. Well I survived. The virus attacked the balance part of my brain. I had to learn to walk again. Now I walk with a cane. It"s hard to not keep tripping. Going up and down stairs are slow. Sometimes I"m dizzy, and my memory... well. Now I find out that the virus attacks your kidneys; even years after. My doctor says I have to see a kidney specialist. What next? There"s no cure, the virus bores holes in your kidneys like termites. Please be careful, watch out for mosquitos! One bite can change your life.

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