AN ESTIMATED 20% OF THOSE INFECTED WITH WNV WILL DEVELOP SYMPTOMS
According to the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
anyone infected with WNV has three possible outcomes. About one in 150 will develop serious symptoms,
approximately 20% will have milder symptoms and around 80% will not develop any symptoms.
Serious symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor,
disorientation, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma and paralysis. These symptoms can last
several weeks. The neurological effects may be permanent.
Milder symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with
a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.
Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised
persons (for example, transplant patients) have the highest risk for getting severely ill when
infected with WNV.
Although most people who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop
an illness, there is no way to tell ahead of time how a person will be affected by a WNV infection.