West Nile virus belongs in the virus family called Flaviviridae. Mosquitoes transmit the virus to humans and animals, such as birds and horses. Transmission to humans can also happen through organ transplants [^1]. The West Nile virus has an incubation period of three to fourteen days, although many people exhibit no symptoms. While most cases of West Nile virus are mild, it can be serious, especially in the elderly and people with compromised immunity.
West Nile virus was first isolated in 1937 in West Nile, Uganda. It is thought to have originated in Africa, where it then spread across the world. Outbreaks are possible in Europe, America, Russia, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 2,038 cases in the United States between 2016 and 2017 [^2]. Below are ten symptoms of West Nile virus.
West Nile Virus Symptom #1: Stiff Neck
A stiff neck can be a sign of several different conditions. While a stiff neck may not be a sign of a severe illness, it could be a symptom of a serious infection, such as West Nile virus. In fact, a stiff neck is the first and most common symptom of West Nile virus infection.
A stiff neck as a result of West Nile virus infection occurs due to inflammation of the meninges, the tissues surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. The inflammation also causes pain in the areas where it occurs. The resultant swelling also causes stiffness in the neck. A stiff neck due to West Nile virus should be treated immediately since the disease can lead to other serious conditions, including meningitis, coma, seizures, and even death.