What is the outlook for people with West Nile virus?

Dr. Elif E. Oker, MD
Medical Toxicology

The outlook for most people with West Nile virus is good. About 80% of people with West Nile have no symptoms. 20% of people will develop symptoms of West Nile virus. The vast majority of these cases will be mild and resolve with time.

Severe cases include those with meningitis and encephalitis. In these cases, the virus has affected the brain and the tissues that surround the brain. There is also a polio-like syndrome associated with severe infection. 

Most people with West Nile virus do very well and recover completely. For those with a severe infection the outlook depends on their age and the other medical conditions they have which can impact the body's ability to handle this infection.

At this time there is no cure, medication or treatment for West Nile other than managing symptoms and supporting the patient's body as it handles the disease.


Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.