Hints of More Dangerous West Nile Virus: DNews Nugget

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More Dangerous Strain?: Two doctors on the front lines of treating patients with the West Nile virus in Mississippi and Michigan, tell the Washington Post that they're seeing signs that the virus may have mutated into a more dangerous form that is more likely to cause brain damage.

The doctors report they have had cases where the virus damaged the speech, language and thinking centers of the brain — symptoms that had never been detected before for the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control says it's too early to know for sure if there is, in fact, a new, nastier version of the virus out there. CDC doctors say it could just be that there are simply more reported cases this past year and so there are a wider variety of symptoms.

But Elizabeth Angus of of Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital told the Washington Post, "I've been struck this year that I'm seeing more patients where the brain dysfunction has been very much worse."

Angus also said that patients with severe symptoms are no longer limited to the elderly and those with compromised immune symptoms. This summer she treated severe cases of the disease in a woman in her 20s and a man in his 40s.

Dr. Art Leis in Jackson, Miss. told the Washington Post that four of his patients had lost their ability to talk and write, another was paralyzed on one side.

"It is clearly much more neuroinvasive, neurovirulent," he said.

via Washington Post

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