West Nile Fever: Long-Lasting Effects
Even Mild West Nile Illness May Have Lingering Effects; Brain Damage Feared
West Nile Brain Damage Common? continued...
Despite these problems, most of the patients were able to return to a "reasonable level" of daily function. This may be why previous studies -- which mostly looked for disabilities -- find more positive long-term outcomes for West Nile virusWest Nile virus infection.
Carson and colleagues suggest West Nile fever "is not a self-limited benign illness, as previously thought." They suggest it may be a brain infection that leaves behind long-lasting damage.
West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes. There's no treatment or cure for the infection, so avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to deal with West Nile disease.
August and September are the biggest months for West Nile virus.
This year has been relatively quiet for West Nile so far, with 388 cases of human illness reported in 26 states as of Aug. 15.
But if previous years are any guide, those numbers are sure to go up before mosquitoes wane. In 2003, for example, there were 393 human infections as of Aug. 13 -- and 715 by Aug. 20.