West Nile Virus Home > West Nile Encephalitis

How Is It Treated?

There is currently no treatment that can kill the virus. Therefore, West Nile encephalitis treatment focuses on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the West Nile virus.
West Nile encephalitis treatment usually requires hospitalization for intensive and supportive care. This supportive care can include:
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Medications to control seizures, nausea, vomiting, or brain swelling
  • Breathing support from a ventilator
  • Prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract infections, etc.)
  • Good nursing care.

Possible Effects of West Nile Encephalitis

For some people, symptoms may last several weeks but not result in any long-term effects. In others, neurological effects from West Nile encephalitis may be permanent. Neurological effects can include:
  • Hearing and/or speech loss
  • Blindness
  • Permanent brain and/or nerve damage
  • Behavioral changes
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Lack of muscle control
  • Seizures
  • Memory loss.
These patients may need long-term therapy, medication, and supportive care.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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