Researchers from Chicago have identified focal neurological deficits as a major group of presenting symptoms among patients with West Nile Virus infection, which became epidemic in the United States in 2002. Focal neurological deficits included visual loss, muscle weakness, paralysis of one half of the body, abnormally slow movement, tremor with rigidity, numbness or tingling and unstable gait. Findings of their study are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Honolulu, March 29-April 5, 2003.
West Nile Fever, generally transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, is usually a relatively mild infection. It is estimated that about 20 percent of those infected will develop West Nile Fever, characterized by mild, flu-like symptoms, a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph nodes. West Nile fever typically lasts only a few days and does not appear to cause any long-term health effects.
The more severe form of the disease is the West Nile encephalitis or meningitis, characterized by high fevers, headache, stiff neck, disorientation, seizures, coma and focal neurological deficits. The death rate among West Nile virus infection cases from the summer of 2002 was 5 to 6 percent according to the latest Center for Disease Control reports.
Marilee Reu | EurekAlert!
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