West Nile Encephalitis (cont.)

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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-rates are highest in the elderly.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/15/2014

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