Study Shows Many West Nile Virus Patients Are Back To Normal After One Year - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Study Shows Many West Nile Virus Patients Are Back To Normal After One Year

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows physical and mental functions in many West Nile patients can return back to normal after a year.

But health experts say the research isn't universal.

"We have others that have lingering effects for several years afterward, and we think it might be life long, it just really depends on the person and your body's response to the virus," said Susan Shelton, Environmental Health Specialist, for the Benton County Health District.

One response related to brain damage.

"That's the one we're really concerned about, those that have the neurologic disease because the effects of that can be lifelong," said Dr. Larry Jecha, with the Benton County Health District.

With one woman in King county possibly being the first human case of West Nile in Washington this year, experts say other cases could follow.

"You know if we have it, this is the time of year, I'd expect them, August and September, early fall are the times we worry about it the most," said Shelton.

To fight the bite, staying away from mosquitoes is not enough. If you're going to be outside, it's recommended you wear long sleeves and pants, and to protect your face you can carry a repellent wipe.

Rub it on your hands, then rub it all over your face and neck, avoiding your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash it off when you go back inside.

Those who have the virus usually show no symptoms, but a quick blood test can help prevent a fatal outcome.

"We've had a lot of deaths in the United States from West Nile, and it is a real concern to us," said Dr. Jecha.

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