West Nile virus (WNV) was first introduced in the US in 1999 and has spread across the much of the country over subsequent years. New Mexico was involved in the 2003 epidemic and 209 cases were reported, 67 with CNS involvement. Few studies have evaluated the long term sequelae of WNV infection and those available are of small sample size. This study was organized to assess those involved in the 2003 New Mexico epidemic for long term consequences of WNV. Patients were identified through State Health Department records as WNV was a reportable disease in 2003. Patients were identified as having WNV if they had a positive serum or CSF IgM. These patients were contacted by mail, and this letter was followed by a telephone contact. Telephone interviews were completed by 2 physicians fluent in English and Spanish. The questionnaire included severity and duration of initial symptoms and current or persistent symptoms. Of those contacted, 135 out of 211 patients were interviewed. During data recollection 2 more patients were enrolled. Collected data indicates the majority of patients had persistent symptoms. Symptoms most commonly reported were fatigue, headache, fever, myalgias, difficulty concentrating, neck stiffness, and photophobia among others. Fatigue was the most prominent complaint and had the longest duration after acute illness. Persistent symptoms appeared in both patients reported as West Nile fever and those with neuroinvasive disease. This is preliminary data from an extensive survey of patients with WNV in New Mexico. Our data indicate patients with WNV have multiple persistent symptoms which last for longer periods of time than has been previously reported.
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