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What is the standard West Nile virus treatment?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, there are no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines available for West Nile virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, research into the disease's treatment is ongoing, and providing supportive therapy is often enough for most patients, reports Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

The general prognosis for a person with a mild case of West Nile virus is excellent, according to Medline Plus. This means that most people who contract the virus get better on their own, explains Mayo Clinic. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, can help with the minor body aches and headaches associated with the disease; however, people with severe cases of the disease may require hospitalization. Very rarely, some people develop meningitis or encephalitis, which do not have direct cures. In these cases, doctors often prescribe supportive therapy, such as intravenous fluids and medicines to prevent the occurrence of other infections.

Scientists are also looking into a new type of treatment for people with severe cases of West Nile virus, notes Mayo Clinic. The treatment, called interferon therapy, is a type of immune cell therapy that has shown promise in treating encephalitis caused by the West Nile virus. Research suggests that people who receive interferon therapy recover faster than those who do not. However, as of 2015, research is still ongoing.

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