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.
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
- 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.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.