Question: My sister was diagnosed with West Nile Virus two years ago. (She gave blood and received a post card in the mail alerting her that her blood carried the virus.) She has had neck stiffness, muscle aches, a twitch in her arm, memory loss, and a rash with scabs on her arm. She still has scabs on her arm, the twitch, stiffness, etc. Today she had a neurological exam where she couldn't remember hot to draw a face of a clock showing 10 minutes after 9. She said that her writing looked like a kindergartner's and chicken scratch. She is 51 years old and cannot remember how to sign on to her computer. She shies away from groups or taking phone calls .... Dr. ordered an MRI. This has been going on for two years, could this be a result of West Nile? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. She works full time and still drives and takes care of household responsibilities. Her boss changed her to an hourly employee and noticed a change in her behavior and work. Something is wrong and it is hard to imagine that it is not somehow related to the virus as that is when her symptoms started.

Answer: I am sorry to hear about your sister contracting West Nile virus. I do believe that some of the symptoms your sister is having could be related to West Nile virus. Unfortunately, there is not a treatment, that I am aware of. Seeing a neurologist is a good idea so that any other causes of her symptoms, including the memory loss, can be ruled out. There may be other treatment that are available that I am not aware of.

Here is a website from the Centers for Disease Control that discusses West Nile Virus.

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