When should you worry about West Nile Fever? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

When should you worry about West Nile Fever?


The number of South Plains residents infected with the West Nile Virus continues to climb. Friday, state health officials confirmed that there are now 8 cases of the virus in Lubbock County.

Five of those are the neuro-invasive virus and three are known as West Nile Fever. However, many people don't know the difference is between the two.

There are three phases of the West Nile Virus. Dr. Ronald Warner with the Texas Tech Health Science Center, says those who are in the first phase, may never know they have the virus.

"Eighty percent of the people who are infected will have no symptoms at all," Warner said.

Phase 2 affects 20 percent of those who have West Nile. This phase is known as "West Nile Fever" and has mild symptoms.

"Maybe a mild headache, maybe a little bit of muscle pain, aches, but they won't feel that they're in need of medical care and they'll take Tylenol and 2 days later, they'll feel fine," Warner said.

The third phase, is the neuro-invasive West Nile Virus. This phase is the dangerous one.

"It causes the neurological signs, that if untreated can possibly lead to death," Warner said.

Treatment for the West Nile Fever is not always necessary, however, with the neuro-logical virus, it is very important.

"Surely if you're noticing any of those severe signs and symptoms, you need to see a physician," Warner said.

The neuro-invasive virus affects less than one percent of those who have West Nile. Despite the odds, Dr. Warner says it's always a good idea to be proactive and avoid any phase at all.

"Anytime that we have conditions compatible and we see mosquitoes, we need to take precautions," Warner said.

To learn more about the symptoms of West Nile and how to prevent it, click here.

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