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Docs urged to look out for West Nile signs

Posted - Jul. 22, 2004 at 4:20 p.m.



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TORONTO, Jul 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- University of Toronto researchers urged physicians to look out for common neurological signs of West Nile Virus during its prime summer season.

In a study of the West Nile outbreak in Toronto, researchers found encephalitis was the most common neurological sign of the virus in patients hospitalized for it.

They said their study also indicated encephalitis might be a risk factor for neuromuscular complications.

More than 50 percent of the 26 West Nile patients studied had neurological disease, and 78 percent had encephalitis -- 82 percent of whom developed neuromuscular dysfunction within days, researchers said.

Researchers urged doctors to look out for encephalitis and paralysis to identify West Nile infection. They recommended that in addition to using standard West Nile testing, doctors perform electrodiagnostic testing in patients with unexplained weakness or who are critically ill to rule out acute flaccid paralysis syndrome, a virus complication which could lead to disability or death.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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