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West Nile Fever Symptoms

West Nile Fever is the infection caused by West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus is a type of flavivirus that infects birds. Mosquitoes feed on birds and become carriers of the virus. The virus is transmitted to humans and animals who become victim of the infected mosquito bite.

West Nile fever is not a serious disease. It usually lasts for few days with full recovery.

Here are few symptoms of West Nile Fever:

  • Fever of about 100 – 101 F
  • Headache
  • Body aches like the flu
  • Skin rash on the trunk of the body
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in Joints
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Stiff neck
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tremors in severe cases

Elderly people, over 50, are at a greater risk severe West Nile fever disease.

The only way of spreading West Nile fever in humans is through mosquitoes. The virus incubates inside the mosquito’s salivary glands. This infection does not spread from animals to humans or from humans to humans. Thus it can be checked by taking preventive measures being bitten by mosquitoes exactly as in the cases of malaria.

There is no specific treatment for the infection. Milder symptoms like fever and aches resolve by themselves in 3 to 4 days. But in case of severe symptoms there is need for hospitalization.

Milder West Nile Fever Symptoms: 20 percent of the infected people have milder symptoms which last for few days to few weeks. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Vomiting
  • Rash on the chest, back or stomach

Serious West Nile Fever Symptoms: According to an estimation of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 150 people get affected with serious form of this fever. The symptoms remain for few weeks and unfortunately the neurological damage caused is permanent. Some of the signs to look out for are:

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

Facts and Statistics on West Nile Fever Virus:

  • Nearly 80 percent of people infected with the virus have no symptoms of this disease.
  • According to the experts, this disease is confirmed as a seasonal epidemic in North America which is believed to exist between the summer and the fall.
  • There are very chances of the spreading of this disease through blood transfusion and and organ transplant as sufficient measures are taken control any such eventuality.
  • CDC and the Food and Drug Administration work with state and local health departments and other government agencies collectively to combat and prevent new cases of this fever.
  • When a person feels symptoms like unusually severe headaches or confusion, it is better to consult doctor. Nursing mothers and pregnant women should follow extra precautions.
  • General awareness about the disease and practice of good hygiene can prevent this disease to a great extent.

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