West Nile virus is an infectious flavivirus that is transmitted through mosquitoes and causes the infectious disease West Nile fever. Mosquitoes become infected by West Nile virus after they feed on birds that are infected. West Nile Virus is not spread directly from person to person, and there is no human vaccine for the virus modern day. West Nile virus is diagnosed through the testing of blood serum or by using a lumbar puncture to obtain cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. The presence of specific antibodies will determine if the individual is infected with West Nile Virus.
Information. Individuals who have a compromised immune system are more at risk for contracting West Nile virus. Individuals who are over sixty years of age and who have pre-existing health issues are at an increased risk of severe West Nile fever. A West Nile virus infection often times will last for several weeks and the period between first exposure and symptom manifestation or the incubation period is between three and fourteen days. The mild symptoms and signs of West Nile typically dissipate on their own, but more severe symptoms may require immediate medical attention and supportive care. The best way that West Nile can be prevented is to reduce exposure to mosquito bites and avoid regions where West Nile is prevalent.