Mild West Nile virus symptoms include fatigue, fever, headache, body aches and back pain, while symptoms of a serious infection include stiff neck, stupor, coma, convulsions and tremors, Mayo Clinic states. Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms, however.
Additional symptoms of mild cases of West Nile virus include swollen lymph glands, skin rash and eye pain, but these only occur occasionally, explains Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms of a serious infection include disorientation, confusion, partial paralysis and lack of coordination. The serious symptoms of West Nile virus only arise in the rare case that the infection spreads to the central nervous system. Mild cases of West Nile virus usually resolve in a few days, but the symptoms of a serious infection can last for weeks, and certain symptoms, such as paralysis, can be permanent.
The people at most risk from West Nile virus include people over 50 years old and those with weakened immune systems, Mayo Clinic says. Prevention involves removing any nearby standing water including clogged gutters, unused swimming pools, birdbaths and old tires. Treatment, when necessary, is usually in the form of pain relievers and, sometimes, interferon therapy. There is no cure for West Nile virus, so treatment is generally aimed at minimizing symptoms.