Health and Your Horse.

West Nile Virus signs in Humans


The time from infection to the onset of symptoms (incubation period) for West Nile encephalitis usually is 3 to 15 days. Most infections are mild. Symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Headache and body aches.
  • Skin rash (occasionally).
  • Swollen lymph nodes (occasionally).

More severe infections may cause:

  • Headache.
  • High fever.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Disorientation.
  • Stupor.
  • Tremors and convulsions.
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis.
  • Coma.

Contact your doctor immediately once you think you have these or combination there of.

Protecting Kids From West Nile

Mosquito-borne illnesses can be a worry, but most of them are much more of a concern for the geriatric population. Still, protection is in order.

By:  Steven Parker, MD

Steven Parker, MD is director of behavioral and developmental pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine.


What risk does the West Nile virus pose to small children (4 and 1 in particular) and is there a good, safe mosquito repellent you could recommend for them for everyday use?


Mosquito-borne illnesses can be a worry, but most of them are much more of a concern for the geriatric population and seem to be much less of a threat to infants and kids. Still, it makes sense to try to prevent mosquito bites when a child might be getting them. Generally, repellants with DEET work the best, and there is some debate about how young one should use it. When I last researched it, there was no real evidence that DEET could hurt children, there’s always a worry that some could be absorbed in a small baby and lead to trouble. So the best protection in young children is prevention with long sleeve and pants, when possible, and small amounts of insect repellent only those open areas, to cut down on exposure. We’ll see what the CDC says this summer about the particular viruses floating around and in what regions the risk seems to be.

Originally published April 8, 2002.