West Nile Virus is a mosquito born disease that can cause meningitis (inflammation of lining of the brain and spinal cord) and encephalitis (inflammation of brain). Patient may suffer mild to severe type of West Nile Virus infection.
West Nile Virus was first identified at Uganda in 1037 and discovered in United State in 1999. Infection usually occurs due to bite of infected mosquito to humans. This infection is weather dependent as it rate of infection is highest during the season of late August to early September and infection rate fall in cold weather as mosquitoes die.
Risk factors for West Nile Virus infection includes
- Old or young persons
- Immunocompromized persons as those of suffering from HIV
Sign and symptoms:
Symptoms of West Nile Virus include
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Sort throat
- Muscle pain and etc
West Nile Virus symptoms last for duration of 3 – 6 days. More severe condition of this infection is also called as West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, depending upon the organ affected. Prompt attention is required if patient is suffering from following symptoms,
- Coma or loss of consciousness
- Loss of concentration or confusion
- Neck stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Weakness of one leg or arm
West Nile Virus infection can be diagnosed by following tests,
- MRI of head
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Lumbar puncture test for CSF analysis
“The most accurate way to diagnose this infection is with a serology test, which checks a blood or CSF sample for antibodies against the virus. More rapid techniques using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) may be used.”
Antibiotics are not prescribed for treatment of West Nile Virus as it is not bacterial disease. As yet there is not specific treatment against West Nile Virus but supporting treatment is usually recommended.
NSAIDs can be prescribed for mild headaches and muscle aches. Supportive treatment is based upon the type of infections. During hospitalization intravenous fluids and medicines are prescribed.
Currently researchers have claimed that west nile induced encephalitis can be treated with interferons but still there is need of more research to find accurate treatment of West Nile Virus infection.
- Naides SJ. Arthropod-borne viruses causing fever and rash syndromes. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 405.
- Bleck TP. Arthropod-borne viruses affecting the central nervous system. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 406.
- 3. Myoclinic
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