If you experience signs and symptoms of a severe West Nile virus infection — such as a high fever, a severe headache, a stiff neck, disorientation or sudden muscle weakness — see your doctor right away or go to an urgent care center. If you're seriously ill, you may need to be hospitalized.
What you can do
Make a list to take with you that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- A record of your recent activities or travel to an area where West Nile virus is prevalent
- Information about your past medical problems
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
What to expect from your doctor
In addition to listening to your description of symptoms, your doctor will perform a physical exam. Your doctor will also take into account whether it's mosquito season and whether he or she has seen other cases of West Nile virus infection recently.
Your doctor may take blood samples to be analyzed for West Nile virus antibodies. If necessary, your doctor may send you to a hospital for supportive therapy.
Dec. 18, 2012
- West Nile virus: Questions and answers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/symptoms.htm. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- West Nile virus: Fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factSheet.htm. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Petersen LR. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of West Nile virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/ index. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-08373-7..00002-9&isbn=978-0-323-08373-7&about=true&uniqId=343863096-23. Accessed Sept. 6, 2012.
- West Nile virus. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/westnile/understanding/pages/what.aspx. Sept. 6, 2012.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. West Nile virus and other arborviral diseases — United States, 2011. MMWR. 2012;61:510. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6127a3.htm?s_cid=mm6127a3_w. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Petersen LR. Treatment and prevention of West Nile virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/ index. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Updated information regarding insect repellants. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm. Accessed Sept. 7, 2012.
- Anderson CF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 10, 2012.
- Mahoney KR (expert opinion). Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md. Jan. 10, 2011.