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West Nile Virus

History:
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.

Dr. Seth inspects a crow which he suspects may have west nile virus.Q: 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 Nile Encephalitis, and West Nile Fever.


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