Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Researchers Find First Drug To Fight West Nile Virus

WebMD Health News

July 27, 2000 -- There's good news and bad news in the battle against the deadly West Nile virus. The bad news is that a sick child in Massachusetts is being tested for the disease. This comes days after a dead crow infected with the virus was found in Boston -- the first evidence of the virus outside of New York City.

On a brighter note, in a study that is being released early due to its potential public health implications, researchers have found the first drug able to fight the deadly West Nile virus -- at least in the laboratory. The drug, ribavirin, is already commonly used to help people with hepatitis C. Further study is needed to discover if it can work against the West Nile virus in real-life cases. The study will be published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The West Nile virus appeared for the first time in North America just last summer. The disease lives in wild birds, and mosquitos get it from biting the birds and carry it to humans.

The virus is common in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Many people in those areas build up resistance to it and can carry the virus without having any symptoms.

Last August, West Nile virus appeared in New York City, affecting 62 people, almost all of them 50 years old or older. Seven people died from the disease. In mild cases, patients experience fever, a rash, aches, and pains. In the most serious cases, the virus leads to swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis.

On Monday, mosquitoes carrying the disease were discovered in Central Park. 30,000 people were planning to attend a free outdoor concert by the New York Philharmonic, but Mayor Rudolph Giuliani canceled the concert and shut down the park so it could be sprayed with insecticide. More mosquito spraying is scheduled throughout the city.

This year, no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus have been found in North America. However, birds or mosquitoes carrying the virus have been identified in three of New York City's boroughs and several suburban counties around the city.

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing