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West Nile virus is an infection spread to humans by mosquitoes. Most people who get the virus don't get sick. But when symptoms do occur, they appear 3 to 14 days after the bite and include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes a skin rash. It's usually a mild illness. In rare cases, West Nile virus may affect the brain, causing serious illness that can lead to long-lasting problems.
There is usually no specific treatment for the West Nile virus. Your body has to fight the infection on its own. In mild cases of West Nile, symptoms usually last for 3 to 6 days, and you can recover at home. If you get a more severe case of West Nile, symptoms can last for weeks or months, and you may need to stay in the hospital so you can get medicine to help you recover.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: June 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Leslie Tengelsen PhD, DVM - Zoonotic Disease
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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