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Posted on October 12, 2012 with No Comments
PCT Magazine checked in with Dr. Parada, NPMA’s medical spokesperson, for a Q&A in which he discusses WNV symptoms; how WNV differs from other mosquito-borne diseases; and common misperceptions.
What are West Nile virus symptoms?
I think they key thing to know is that the vast majority of people have virtually no symptoms at all. Virtually 80 percent have no idea they’re infected, don’t seek medical care. We only know if we start doing blood tests for epidemiological purposes.
Four out of five (cases) go unnoticed, and it’s only 20 percent of people who develop symptoms, and most tend to have a mild (case of the) disease with some combination of fever, headache, body aches, gastrointestinal symptoms, nausea, vomiting. Some people will have a slight rash, typically more on the chest, stomach, back, central sort of rash, not so much on the arms. The intensity of this will be very little, to feeling like they have the flu. Those people other than with some headache and disorientation don’t have a lot of the neurological symptoms.
Less than one percent develop the serious symptoms that we associate with WNV: high fevers, more acute headache, and additional neurological symptoms – neck stiffness, confusion, disorientation, coma, convulsions. Very typical muscle weakness with numbness and paralysis that tends to be ascending paralysis, meaning it starts at the feet and works its way up (the body). These are the patients that are hospitalized, and unfortunately, this is the group where we see the deaths.