West Nile Virus Symptoms Diagnosis and Treatments

West Nile Virus Symptoms Diagnosis and Treatments

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus, commonly abbreviated as WNV, is a flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae transmitted to humans through mosquito bites or through their contact with infected blood. In most cases, patients are asymptomatic but the infection can cause a self-limited influenza-like illness, West Nile fever (WNF) or very rarely, West Nile neuroinvasive disease(WNND).  

A mosquito bite can become much more severe if it infects you with the West Nile virus. All mosquito breeds can spread this virus by stinging an infected bird and then further biting a person.

It is essential to understand that not all people with infected mosquito bites seize this disease; however, the West Nile virus can be severe for individuals older than 60 years and people with debilitated immune systems. If the virus is diagnosed and treated at the earliest, the chances of restoring to normal from the West Nile Virus is fairly good.

West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease worldwide. It usually spreads among people by the simple sting of an infected mosquito. Most cases of West Nile Virus occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. 

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. 1 in 5 people develop a fever and other symptoms, and about 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

How Does One Get West Nile Virus?

You are most likely to get the West Nile virus from a mosquito bite after being stung by a mosquito carrying the virus. Mosquitoes usually contract the West Nile virus by biting an infected bird. When an infected mosquito bites you (or an animal), they transmit the virus through their saliva. In a very few cases, the West Nile virus has spread:

  • From mother to baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • In a blood transfusion
  • During organ transplant surgery

West Nile virus does not spread by kissing or touching another person.

Diagnosis of West Nile Virus Infection 

Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)-Besides performing a physical exam, your doctor can confirm the presence of West Nile virus or a West Nile-related illness, such as meningitis or encephalitis, by completing one of the following tests:

  • Molecular diagnostics laboratories tests: If you are infected, a blood test may show a rising level of antibodies to the West Nile virus. Antibodies are immune system proteins that attack foreign substances, such as viruses. A blood test may not show antibodies at first; another test may need to be done a few weeks later to show the rising level of antibodies.
  • Spinal tap – The most well-known way to diagnose meningitis is to examine the cerebrospinal fluid encompassing your brain and spinal cord. A needle inserted between the lower vertebrae of your spine is done to extract a fluid sample for analysis in a lab. The fluid sample may show a high white blood cell count — a signal that your immune system is fighting an infection — and antibodies to the West Nile virus. If the sample doesn’t show antibodies, you may have to take another test a few weeks later.
  • Brain tests- In some cases, doctors may recommend electroencephalography (EEG) — a procedure that measures your brain’s activity — or an MRI scan to help detect inflammation of the brain.

How can the West Nile virus be treated?

No drug or treatment can free your body of the West Nile infection. A majority of patients recover on their own. Over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may diminish minor muscle aches, headaches or distress. For the most serious instances of West Nile infection, you will have to turn to proper medical care. 

Treatments like intravenous liquids and breathing help support your body while battling the infection. Treatment for West Nile Virus contamination is intense. There is no West Nile Virus -explicit treatment to lessen the injury or skin rash but some symptoms can be relieved.

Molecular Laboratory diagnosis is generally accomplished by testing serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to detect WNV-specific IgM antibodies. Immunoassays for WNV-specific IgM are available commercially and through state public health laboratories.

West Nile Virus Lineage 2 (Strain: B-956 Uganda) is propagated in the Vero cell line. This virus is purified using sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation, disrupted in the presence of 0.5% Triton X-100 non-ionic detergent/0.6 M KCl, and heat-inactivated

West Nile Virus is an enveloped icosahedral Flavivirus that contains positive-sense, single-stranded linear RNA. West Nile Virus Lineage 2 (Strain: B-956 Uganda) is propagated in the Vero cell line. This virus is purified using sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation, disrupted in the presence of 0.5% Triton X-100 non-ionic detergent/0.6 M KCl, and heat-inactivated.

Ribavirin in high portions and interferon-α 2b has exhibited viability against the West Nile Virus in vitro; in any case, there are no clinical preliminaries to help the adequacy of one or the other specialist. There have been no controlled investigations of the utilization of steroids, seizure meds, or osmotic specialists in West Nile Virus encephalitis administration. No immunization is now accessible for prevention.

Prevention of West Nile Virus

Many are not aware, but mosquitoes are life-threatening insects, so prevention is paramount in controlling the spread of this viral infection. Some basic prevention methods that individuals should practice are to use insect repellents and to avoid staying at locations where there may be too many mosquitoes. 

Other essential practices like wearing long-sleeved clothing or long pants, avoiding still waters to prevent mosquito breeding and installing mosquito window screens are just simple day-to-day practices that individuals can follow.

Additionally, active surveillance of the avian population by health departments and reducing mosquitoes through coordinated spraying of pesticides in highly populated mosquito areas are all strategies to help control West Nile Virus.

Contact Helvetica Health Care for more information regarding the West Nile Virus related products.