West Nile virus was first isolated from a febrile adult woman
in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937. The ecology was
characterized in Egypt in the 1950s. The virus became recognized
as a cause of severe human meningoencephalitis (inflammation
of the spinal cord and brain) in elderly patients during an
outbreak in Israel in 1957. Equine disease was first noted in
Egypt and France in the early 1960s. The appearance of West
Nile virus in North America in 1999, with encephalitis reported
in humans and horses, may be an important milestone in the evolving
history of this virus.
Q: What is the West Nile virus?
A: West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause
encephalitis (inflamation of the brain) or meningitis (inflamation
of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.)
Q: How is West Nile virus spread?
A: West Nile virus is spread to human by the bite of
an infected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by biting
a bird that carries the virus. You or your child cannot get
West Nile virsu from a person who has the disease. West Nile
virus is not spread by person-to-person contact such as touching,
kissing, or caring for someone who is infected.
What are the symptoms of West Nile viral infection?
A: Most people who are infected with the West Nile
virus either have no symptoms or experience mild illness such
as fever, headache, and body aches before fully recovering.
Some persons also develop a mild rash or swollen lymph glands.
In some individuals, particularly the elderly, West Nile virus
can cause disease that affects the brain tissue. At its most
serious, it can cause permanent neurological damage and can
be fatal. Symptoms of encephalitis (inflamation of the brain)
include the rapid onset of severe headache, high fever, stiff
neck, confusion, loss of consciousness (coma), or muscle weakness,
and may be fatal
Q: Can you get West Nile virus from another person?
A: No. West Nile virus is NOT transmitted from person
to person. For example, you cannot get West Nile virus from
touching or kissing a person who has the disease, or from
a health care worker who has treated someone with the disease.
Click here for
much more information on the West Nile Virus.
Read more about: West
Nile Meningitis, West
and West Nile Fever.