Viruses – West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is a rare viral disease in the arbovirus group, which are arthropod (insect) borne RNA viruses that I almost never encounter in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices. West Nile Virus is a flavavirus which is usually found in East Africa, but was discovered in the U.S. in 1999 when it first appeared in California. Typically, it infects the crow family, which consists of crows, ravens, magpies, and bluejays. The Culex mosquito spreads the West Nile Virus to humans. Fortunately, 80% of infected patients are asymptomatic. In symptomatic patients, fever can occur and neurological problems are very common such as seizures, ascending flaccid paralysis similar to Polio, ataxia (loss of coordination), and decreased level of consciousness. In some patients, the neurologic sequelae are permanent. The only skin manifestation is a morbilliform non-specific rash, which occurs in 20% of patients.