West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus Testing and health information

Do you have a fever, stiff neck, fatigue, or headaches after being bitten by mosquitos?

West Nile virus is a possibility if this is the case. To check if you're infected, get a West Nile virus test from Ulta Lab Tests. 

It would be best if you considered getting tested for West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes transmit this virus, which can cause severe illness in some people. It's important to identify if you have it since the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases such as the flu, and treatment varies depending on the type of infection. 

If you're experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a fever, headache, stiff neck, weakness, or muscular pains, you should be tested for the West Nile virus. Other symptoms may include a rash that looks like hives on your chest or stomach. Swollen lymph nodes and a stiff neck are other possible side effects. In rare situations, people may develop encephalitis, a brain inflammation that can be deadly if not treated right away. We provide blood tests that can identify the presence of antibodies in your body that indicate a viral infection. 

If you want to learn more about West Nile infections and the lab tests that can help you, click on the title of the articles below.

Please don't put off taking action until it's too late! We understand how important it is for you to know if you have this potentially life-threatening disease as soon as possible. As a result, our results are readily available within 1 to 2 business days for most tests! The sooner you can identify your illness, the sooner you can begin treating it to help you feel better. Let us help you protect your health today! 

Order your blood tests from the selection below today to screen for a West Nile infection and take charge of your health!

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In May of 2021, there were a total of 664 cases of West Nile in the United States, and over 75% of those cases were severe, involving disease extending to the nervous system and brain.

The West Nile virus is mainly transmitted through mosquito bites and usually resolves with treatment. But it has the potential to cause health complications. This is why a West Nile virus test is so important.

When you order a West Nile virus lab test, you take control of your health. 

Keep reading this guide to find everything you need to know about the West Nile virus and the West Nile virus lab test.

What is the West Nile Virus

The West Nile virus is a virus first identified in Uganda in 1937. In 1953, it was identified in birds, mainly crows in the Nile region.

Since that time, outbreaks have occurred in Greece, Russia, Israel, Romania, and anywhere along the main migratory path for birds. In 1999, a large outbreak in the United States highlighted the importance of regulating animal importation.

 Risk factors for West Nile Virus

Your most significant risk factor for getting the West Nile virus is the time of the year. Most cases in the US occur between June and September and happen in 48 states, except for Alaska and Hawaii.

If you have the West Nile virus, your risk of developing a severe infection is low. Less than 1% of people who get the West Nile virus become severely ill, but most recover completely. 

You're more likely to develop a severe infection from West Nile if you are:

  • An older age
  • You have medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease

Causes of West Nile Virus

West Nile virus typically spreads to humans and animals from infected mosquitos. Mosquitos become infected after biting birds that have the West Nile virus.

But it's important to know you can't get infected if you're in close contact with an infected person or animal. West Nile appears in Africa, Asia, Europe, Canada, and the US.

Signs and Symptoms of West Nile Virus

Many people infected with West Nile Virus don't show any symptoms, but almost 20% will develop a mild infection. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash

For less than 1% of people, the West Nile virus can cause a severe nervous system infection, including brain and spinal cord inflammation. Symptoms of a serious infection include:

  • Severe headache
  • High fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Coma
  • Paralysis or muscle weakness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Loss of vision

West Nile virus symptoms typically last 2 to 3 days, but symptoms of a more severe infection can last for months. Serious symptoms like muscle weakness or vision loss can become permanent.

West Nile Virus Diagnosis

If you have symptoms of a headache, stiff neck, fever, or muscle weakness, then you need to see a doctor right away.

If you think you may have been exposed and your symptoms are mild, then make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will ask you questions like:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Have your symptoms been ongoing or on and off?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Does anything improve your symptoms?
  • Does anything make them worse?

In addition to a physical exam, your doctor can confirm you have the West Nile virus or a West Nile-related illness by first ordering lab tests that measure the levels of your antibodies.

If your doctor suspects you have a brain or spine infection, they'll order a spinal tap to analyze the fluid around your brain and spinal cord for an infection.

In other cases, your doctor may also order an MRI to detect brain inflammation and an EEG to measure your brain's activity. 

Lab Testing For West Nile Virus

If you're wondering, how can you test for the West Nile virus? Well, the good news is the tests for West Nile are simple and easy.

The West Nile virus antibody (IgG, IgM) Serum test is a common West Nile lab test. Antibodies appear in your immune system as a response to the infection. The antibody test detects for antibodies your body develops while fighting the West Nile Virus.

For more immediate results, you can take a West Nile Virus RNA Real-Time PCR test. A PCR test involves taking a sample of tissue, typically a nasal swab, early in the course of your illness. A positive result can confirm an infection.

Other tests include a Donor West Nile Virus test. The donor test screens the blood, tissues, and tissue products of potential donors for the West Nile virus.

FAQS About West Nile Virus

Are you wondering if all mosquitoes transmit this disease? The answer is most mosquitos transmit West Nile, but not all of them. Approximately 30 different species of mosquitos across the United States carry the virus.

Can your pets become infected? Pets do sometimes get the West Nile Virus but usually don't show signs of illness. Dogs and cats do not easily catch West Nile, but horses are much more susceptible. 

How can you protect yourself and your family from getting the West Nile virus? The best way towards prevention is to reduce the mosquito population around your home and property by:

  • Reduce the amount of standing water
  • Throw away used tires as they can be a mosquito breeding ground
  • Make sure your gutters drain properly
  • Turn over small pools and wheelbarrows when not in use
  • Keep water off any pool covers
  • Landscape your property in a way that eliminates the pooling of water

 West Nile Virus Test with Ulta Lab Tests

Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests that allow you to make the best decisions about your health. Here are a few fantastic things you'll love about Ulta Lab Tests:

  • Secure and confidential results
  • No need for health insurance
  • No need for a physician's referral
  • Affordable pricing
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

If you order your West Nile virus tests today, you'll get secure results online in 24 to 48 hours in most cases.

Being aware of what's going on in your body is the first step. Take control of your health and shop Ulta Lab Tests today!