Pediatric West Nile Virus

Pediatric West Nile Virus

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Summary

West Nile virus can be spread through infected mosquitos that bite the skin. It can sometimes lead to serious complications involving the brain and spinal cord.

Expanded overview

In the majority of cases, the West Nile virus spreads through the bite of a mosquito that is infected with the virus. Many people who contract the virus don’t have any symptoms or complications. However, some people – especially children, the elderly or those with a compromised immune system – can develop life-threatening complications of the spinal cord or brain.

Causes

In most cases, an individual contracts West Nile virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. Other – less frequent – ways of spreading the virus include organ transplantation or blood transfusion.

Symptoms

Mild signs and symptoms

Most people who contract the West Nile virus show no signs of having the illness. In about 20 percent of people who have the virus, mild signs and symptoms include:

Serious signs and symptoms

In less than one percent of those who become infected with the West Nile virus, a serious neurological infection develops. Signs and symptoms of these serious complications include:

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