West Nile virus rash is a skin infection causedby West Nile virus infected mosquitoes. Infection is passed on to humans by the mosquitoes causing fever, headache, and sometimes fatal symptoms such as inflammation of the brain. Mild symptoms like headache, fever, etc. are not dangerous. However serious symptoms like disorientation, extreme severe headache should not be ignored, and a doctor should be consulted right away.
Contact with mosquitoes in areas where West Nile virus rash is present should be avoided. Precautions like wearing full clothes or applying mosquito repellent creamshould be taken. It reduces the risk of getting infected with West Nile virus rash.
Symptoms of West Nile virus rash
Some mild symptoms of West Nile rash are as follows:
- Body pain and sometimes eye pain
- Sometimes lymph glands can experience swelling
West Nile virus rash also causes severe neurological infections like encephalitis which means inflammation of brain, and sometimes of the nearby membrane, spinal cord, and partial paralysis. Partial paralysis means unexpected weakness in leg, arm, or the breathing muscles. Some serious symptoms include:
- Severe headache
- Neck becomes very stiff
- Very high fever
- Confusion and convulsions
- Partial paralysis
Mild symptoms disappear after some days but severe symptoms cause neurological damage like weakness in muscles which are permanent.
In case of severe symptoms like high fever, stiff neck, etc. a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Usually person infected with severe West Nile virus rash is hospitalized.
Causes and transmission of West Nile virus
West Nile virus rash spreads to humans and animals through infected mosquitoes. When mosquitoes feed on infectious bird they come in contact with the West Nile virus. It is important to note that West Nile virus rash is not a contagious disease. The infection does not spread when a healthy person kisses or touches a patient.
People mostly suffer from West Nile virus rash during warm climate when the mosquitoes are very active. When an infected mosquito bites then it takes approximately 3 to fourteen days for the symptoms to appear.
Presence of West Nile virus rash can be seen in areas like Africa, United States of America, some regions of Asia, and Middle East.
Factors affecting West Nile virus rash
The main factors that increase the risk of West Nile rash are:
- The time period of year: In U.S.A,a majority of the West Nile virus rash cases are common between July and September.
- Outdoor activities: If time is spent in outdoor activities then there is high risk of West Nile virus rash.
- Geographical area: This rash is common in U.S.A. However, most cases are reported in Western and Midwestern states.
- Transplantation of organs
- Blood transfusions
- In rare cases, though not confirmed, West Nile virus rash could be transmitted from a mother to child during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
In severe instances of West Nile virus rash, some other factors are also taken into consideration. These include:
- Adult who are more than fifty years of age have high chances of developing this viral rash.
- People who have a weak immune system, or have had an organ transplant are also at greater risk
Tests for West Nile virus rash
West Nile virus rash can be diagnosed after conducting some blood tests, or tests on the fluid called cerebrospinal fluid which surrounds the spinal cord. The different tests include:
- Laboratory test: If a person suffers from this rash then blood tests will reveal an increase in the level of antibodies. Antibodies are immune system proteins. This attacks the foreign substances like the virus. A positive result of the RNA i.e. ribonucleic acid would mean presence of West Nile virus rash.
- If severe case of West Nile virus rash is suspected then one has to go for lumbar puncture or brain- imaging tests, like an EEG.An EEG which is an abbreviation of electroencephalography is taken to know the activities of brain. An MRI scan is an alternative method for detecting inflammation of brain.
Treatment and prevention of West Nile virus rash
Mild cases of West Nile virus rash disappear on their own without treatment. Pain killers may be taken to alleviate the pain.
Encephalitis and meningitis will require hospitalization.
The best way to prevent West Nile virus rash is to stay away from mosquitoes and clear up the mosquito breeding areas. Some measures that can be taken are:
- Free the roof gutters.
- The water should be drained form unused swimming pools
- Water should not be allowed to collect in yards. These become breeding place for mosquitoes.
- Water should be changed in birdbath at least once in a week
- Anything that allows collection of water like unused containers should be cleared.
- Outdoor activities should be avoided, especially at times when mosquitoes are most widespread like early morning and evening time.
- Wear full long clothes that cover the body.
- Mosquito repellent can be applied with DEET on the skin and clothes.
A vaccine is available to protect horses from this viral rash. However, a similar vaccine for humans is currently unavailable.
West Nile Virus Rash Pictures