West Nile viral infection can be a serious disease. In Texas, it is seasonal and flares up in summer and fall. West Nile virus infection can cause a wide range of symptoms from mild to serious in nature.
- Symptoms develop between 3 and 14 days after being bitten.
- Most people infected with West Nile will not show any symptoms.
- Some people will have symptoms which can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, rash on the trunk area, and sometimes swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may last for a few days to as long as several weeks.
- Only a few people infected with West Nile will have serious illness. These symptoms may include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent.
West Nile Virus is spread by:
- infected mosquitos when they bite humans or animals.
- In a small number of cases, West Nile has been spread by blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding and during pregnancy from mother to baby.
- West Nile is not spread by casual contact with an infected person
The best way to prevent infection with West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites.
- When outdoors, use repellents containing DEET.
- Avoid being outside when mosquitos are active between dusk and dawn.
- Wear long sleeves and pants if you have to be outdoors during this time.
- Make sure you have good screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitos out.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from pots, buckets, and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and birdbaths frequently. Empty children’s wading pools when not in use.
There is no specific treatment for West Nile. Most symptoms will go away on their own. If your symptoms persist or become severe, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Hospitalization may be needed for severe symptoms.
CDC West Nile