West Nile Virus - Disease Caused, Symptoms, Transmission and Recovery

West Nile virus is an RNA virus that is responsible for causing West Nile Fever. This disease is characterized by fever and headache and severe complications like inflammation of the nervous system
West Nile Virus - Symptoms and Treatment
West Nile Virus - Symptoms and Treatment

West Nile Virus: West Nile Virus is a single-stranded RNA virus that is responsible for causing West Nile Fever. It belongs to the Flaviviridae family coming under the Flavivirus genus. We will know more about West Nile Virus and West Nile Fever along with symptoms and treatment.

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus is an RNA Virus that belongs to the Flavivirus genus which also includes the other notable virus including the Zika Virus, Yellow Fever Virus and Dengue Virus.

The West Nile Virus also known as WNV is genetically similar to the Japanese Encephalitis virus family.

West Nile Virus was first discovered in humans in the year 1937, in Uganda.

West Nile Virus - Mode of Transmission

The mode of transmission of the West Nile Virus is primarily through the mosquitoes of the species Culex. The primary hosts of the West Nile Virus are birds and the transmission cycle is as follows the bird-mosquito-bird sequence.

Humans are infected by mosquitoes which obtain the virus by biting infected birds. This disease is not contagious.

West Nile Virus - Natural Hosts

Birds and mosquitoes are the natural hosts of the West Nile Virus. Some birds like American Crow and Blue Jay cannot resist the infection from the West Nile Virus and die.

West Nile Virus - Affected Organisms

The West Nile Virus is able to infect around 30 mammalian species and the major species to be infected with the West Nile Virus are humans, horses, cats and dogs. It can also infect reptiles and amphibians such as crocodiles, snakes, frogs and lizards.

West Nile Fever

West Nile Fever is a disease that is caused by an infection by the West Nile Virus. In humans, the infection yields various results such as vomiting, rash, fever, and headache. These symptoms are noticed in around 20% of the cases.

However, around 80% of the individuals do not show any symptoms or very few of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Around 1% of the infected individuals develop more complications in the form of encephalitis or meningitis which causes neck stiffness, seizures and confusion.

The recovery from West Nile Fever can take a few weeks to a month depending on the severity of the disease.

There is a 10% risk of death due to complications caused by the West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus - Symptoms

As mentioned above around 80% of the cases of infection by West Nile Virus do not show any symptoms, while 20% of cases will show a variety of symptoms which include

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Myalgia

Around 1% of the infected individuals will develop serious conditions which are as follows

  • Encephalitis ( Swelling of brain)
  • Meningitis ( Swelling of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord)

The symptoms associated with such conditions are:

  • Paralysis
  • High Fever
  • Muscle Stiffness
  • Seizures
  • Numbness
  • Severe Headache
  • High Fever

The recovery from mild cases of West Nile Virus infection can take three to six days, in cases of complications like encephalitis and meningitis, the recovery time can extend up to a few weeks or a month.

West Nile Virus - Incubation Period

The incubation period of the West Nile virus is 4 to 10 days. The incubation period refers to the time between the biting and the symptoms to occur.

West Nile Virus - Preventive Measures

The best way to prevent infection from West Nile Virus is to follow a strict routine of removing standing water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

West Nile Virus Recent News

West Nile Virus is detected in two people in New York recently which is a cause of concern.

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