Mild disease, generally called West Nile fever, may cause some or all of the following symptoms:
These symptoms usually last for 3 - 6 days.
More severe forms of disease, which can be life threatening, may be called West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, depending on what part of the body is affected. The following symptoms can occur, and need prompt attention:
Signs of West Nile virus infection are similar to those of other viral infections. There may be no specific findings on a physical examination. However, up to half of patients with West Nile virus infection may have a rash.
Tests to diagnose West Nile virus include:
The most accurate way to diagnose this infection is with a serology test, which checks a blood or CSF sample for antibodies against the virus. More rapid techniques using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) may be used.
Naides SJ. Arthropod-borne viruses causing fever and rash syndromes. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 405.
Bleck TP. Arthropod-borne viruses affecting the central nervous system. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 406.
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