Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study shows long-term health effects from West Nile illnesses

More than a year after being diagnosed with a West Nile virus infection, half of the patients have ongoing health complaints including fatigue, memory problems, headaches, depression, and tremors, according to an article in the Sept. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The study reports that those patients who were diagnosed with the relatively benign manifestation of West Nile fever are just as likely to suffer later health problems as are those who were hospitalized with more severe West Nile virus-related illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis.

People can become infected with West Nile virus when they are bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected bird. The virus was first found in the United States in 1999. In 2003, there were more than 9,000 human cases of West Nile virus–related disease, including 264 deaths.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. However, approximately 20 percent of patients will develop a flu-like illness called West Nile fever. Up to 1 percent may develop more severe diseases such as meningitis or encephalitis.

Lead author Paul Carson, MD, of MeritCare Health System and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Science, said, "We were seeing patients coming back long after having had West Nile fever saying they had ongoing problems. People would say things like 'I'm not myself, I'm more fatigued, I have more trouble with my memory.'"

The authors of this study tested 49 patients approximately 13 months after they were diagnosed with either West Nile fever or one of the more severe diseases. The patients were given tests for neurological function, quality of life, fatigue, and depression.

"What we found," Dr. Carson said, "is that there is a substantial amount of ongoing symptoms both among those patients diagnosed with West Nile fever as well as those with the more severe diseases, encephalitis and meningitis."

On a standardized test for overall general health, nearly half of patients scored low on the physical component and a third of patients scored low on the mental component. On the test for depression, one out of four scored in the range of moderate to severe. Eighty-four percent reported fatigue. Tremors were seen in 20 percent of patients.

According to Dr. Carson, physicians distinguish between what was thought of as the "benign and self-limited" illness of West Nile fever and the more severe encephalitis and meningitis cases. But one thing this study suggests is that West Nile fever is not as harmless as previously thought. It may be that there is a spectrum of illness and damage to the brain, and the virus may affect the same areas of the brain in West Nile fever patients and those with the more severe forms of infection.

"I hope this study will raise awareness that West Nile virus poses a substantial public health threat," said Dr. Carson. "We knew before that West Nile encephalitis was a serious health threat, but we didn't appreciate how much ongoing morbidity there is for West Nile fever, which is much more common. Hopefully, this may give greater impetus to increase resources for prevention--vector control and vaccine--and treatment development."

Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>