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    West Nile Virus Fever Worse Than Formerly Thought, Study Indicates

    (Sept. 6, 2004) -- The fever induced in some people by the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus (WNV) is not just a three to six day illness with limited symptoms, but is a severe illness that can incapacitate people for a month or more, says a physician with the Chicago Board of Health in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    The study is reported by Reuters at: West Nile Fever More Severe Than Formerly Thought

    As reported in August by, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said a study of patients in NYC found that WNV recovery can take more than a year for some people, especially those over age 65. See coverage at: CDC Publication: West Nile Recovery Can Take More Than a Year For Some, Esp. Those Over 65

    West Nile Virus produces no clinical symptoms in roughly 80% of those bitten by infected mosquitoes, but causes flu-like symptoms, including West Nile fever, in about 20%.

    It can also lead to encephalitis (brain swelling) or meningitis in about 1 in 150 people bitten by WNV infected mosquitoes. There is no cure, only supportive therapies which include hospitalization in serious cases.

    The CA Dept. of Health Services says that as of Sept. 3, the state had a total of 430 WNV cases...with 165 of the total in Los Angeles County, 148 in San Bernardino County, 76 in Riverside County and 21 in OC.

    32 of the cases statewide were first detected in asymptomatic individuals through screening done at blood banks...and four later became symptomatic.

    Of the 402 WNV cases with symptoms, 145 are West Nile fever cases, 140 are West Nile neuroinvasive disease (encephalitis or meningitis) and 117 are of unknown status, CA DHS said.

    CA has had 11 confirmed fatalities to date...including one in LB, an elderly resident of ELB.

    LB's Health Dept. told that as of Aug 31, LB had experienced a seven confirmed WNV human cases in 2004 (including the fatality). Information on the WNV illnesses experienced by the six other LB residents was not released.

    Related coverage: collected West Nile Virus coverage

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