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J Neurol Sci. 2002 Aug 15;200(1-2):63-6.

Neurological features of West Nile virus infection during the 2000 outbreak in a regional hospital in Israel.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin 70300, Israel.


During the summer of 2000, 35 patients with West Nile Virus Fever were admitted to our hospital. Of these, the 26 (21 adults, mean age 56 (19-86) and 5 children (aged 9-15)) presented have neurological involvement, 33% with meningitis, 52% with meningoencephalitis, 10% with encephalitis and 5% with acute polyneuropathy. Presenting clinical features were fever in 95% of cases, headache in 90%, nausea/vomiting in 52%, confusion in 48%, somnolence in 38%, neck stiffness in 33%, a skin rash in 19%, diarrhea in 14%, cervical pain in 14%, seizure in 9%, photophobia in 9% and limb weakness in 4%. Leucopenia was not found. Two patients diagnosed with meningoencephalitis died. Three patients had signs of an acute polyneuropathy, this being the only complaint of one patient. The EEG was abnormal in all cases of meningitis or meningoencephalitis, except in three cases. Outbreaks of West Nile Virus Fever are emerging as a worldwide disease with high rates of neurological involvement and death. It should be considered in cases presenting with aseptic meningoencephalitis, meningitis and acute polyneuropathy, especially during the summer months and in areas along bird migration pathways.

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