Most West Nile Virus infections are mild or the patients don't even know they have it, but the CDC is focusing on those few cases in which there is a severe reaction to determine how long symptoms could continue. They're finding that now, a year later, patients who suffer a polio-like paralysis from infected mosquitos are still suffering. The CDC says that could be permanent.
The news is much better for those patients whose West Nile develops into Encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
Dr. James Sejvar says that even though people with West Nile had very severe Encephalitis at presentation, by three or so months out, they were almost or basically fully recovered.
The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and identifies other possible long-term effects as well. At any rate, the best way to lessen your risk of West Nile Virus is to stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. If you do go outside, wear clothes that cover your skin, and use a bug spray that contains Deet.
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