Most people recover from West Nile virus without treatment. Most severe cases require supportive therapy in a hospital with intravenous fluids and pain medication.
For mild cases, over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease mild headaches and muscle aches. Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. 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.
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 recover better than those who don't receive the drug, but more study is needed.
Dec. 16, 2015
- West Nile virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
- Petersen LR. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of West Nile virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
- Petersen LR. Treatment and prevention of West Nile virus infection. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.