What is West Nile Virus?

A flavivirus was first spread in eastern Africa, passed on by mosquitoes, generally within birds, but occasionally causes skin diseases in humans and horses. West Nile virus is an unattached-stranded RNA virus which is the cause of West Nile fever. It is a part of the Flaviviridae family, from the genus Flavivirus, which also contains the Zika virus, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus.

How humans get affected by the virus:

At first, mosquitoes are infected by birds while feeding on infected birds, which is the main reason for the circulation of the virus in mosquitoes’ blood for some days. Day by day, the virus enters the salivary glands. When mosquitoes bite humans or other mammals and get infected by the virus, the effect of the virus can increase and may lead to health problems.

Mosquitoes, primarily species of Culex, firstly send out the virus. The virus is named West Nile virus after the West Nile district of Uganda, where the virus was first affected in 1937. Eruption of the West Nile illness has occurred in Egypt, Asia, Israel, South Africa, and some parts of Europe and Australia.

Around 1 in 5 people who are contaminated develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhoea, or rash. Many people with a febrile illness caused due to the West Nile virus recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can remain for weeks or months. It shows severe symptoms in a few people. Maximum people infected with the West Nile virus have no signs or symptoms.

 Some indications of the virus include:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Body aches.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Skin rash.

West Nile Virus (WNV) can bring neurological disease and death to people. It is frequently found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and West Asia. WNV is continued in nature in a cycle, including transmission between birds and mosquitoes. These days it is infecting Humans and other mammals also.

 Reports show that less than 1% of persons who have suffered from the West Nile virus develop serious illness of individuals who have severe illness secondary to the infection, 3-15% die. The infected body has to fight the infection on its own. In mild cases of West Nile, signs generally stay for 3 to 6 days, and you can recover at home.

 If you get a serious case of West Nile, symptoms can last for weeks or months, and you may need to stay in the hospital to get medicine that will be helpful to recover. But, people above 60 years of age are in more danger. People with some medical complications, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have undergone organ transplants are also a great danger.


As it’s a viral condition, the West Nile virus doesn’t have any cure. But you can take pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin to get relief from symptoms of it, such as muscle aches and headaches. As of January 11, 2022, 2695 cases of West Nile virus disease have been recorded by the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention). No cure has been invented till now to prevent the virus. The better path to preventing West Nile is to save yourself from mosquito bites. Apply insect repellent, be in long-sleeved shirts and pants, and lay hold to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.