This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
West Nile encephalitis is a form of West Nile virus that affects the neurological system. Signs and symptoms may include headache, fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, seizures, paralysis, or coma. West Nile virus is generally spread to humans by infected mosquitos. West Nile encephalitis, specifically, occurs when the virus crosses the blood-brain barrier and infects the central nervous system. Although West Nile encephalitis can affect anyone, people who are over age 60, have received an organ transplant, or are affected by certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease have the highest risk of developing the condition. Treatment is supportive and hospitalization may be required to address the associated symptoms. Recovery may take several weeks or months and some of the neurologic effects may be permanent.
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