Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Supportive therapy

Most people recover from West Nile virus without treatment. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease mild headaches and muscle aches.

Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 2, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.

There's no direct cure for encephalitis or meningitis, but you may need supportive therapy in a hospital with intravenous fluids and medicines to prevent other types of infections.

Interferon therapy

Scientists are investigating interferon therapy — a type of immune cell therapy — as a treatment for encephalitis caused by West Nile virus. Some research shows that people who receive interferon may recover better than those who don't receive the drug, but more study is needed.

Dec. 18, 2012