Volume 92, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The Houston West Nile Cohort (HWNC) was founded in 2002 when West Nile virus (WNV) reached Houston, TX. The long-term outcomes following WNV infection are still mostly unknown, though neurological abnormalities up to 1 year postinfection have been documented. We report an observational study of neurological abnormalities at 1–3 and 8–11 years following WNV infection in the HWNC. We conducted standard neurological examinations at two separate time points to assess changes in neurological status over time. The majority of patients (86%, 30/35) with encephalitis had abnormal neurological exam findings at the time of the first assessment compared with uncomplicated fever (27%, 3/11) and meningitis (36%, 5/14) cases. At the time of the second assessment, 57% (4/7) of West Nile fever (WNF), 33% (2/6) of West Nile meningitis (WNM), and 36% (5/14) of West Nile encephalitis (WNE) had developed new neurological complications. The most common abnormalities noted were tandem gait, hearing loss, abnormal reflexes, and muscle weakness. Long-term neurological abnormalities were most commonly found in patients who experienced primary WNV encephalitis. New abnormalities may develop over time regardless of initial clinical infection. Future studies should aim to differentiate neurological consequences due to WNV neuroinvasive infection versus neurological decline related to comorbid conditions.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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Supplementary PDF

  • Received : 02 Oct 2014
  • Accepted : 19 Dec 2014
  • Published online : 06 May 2015

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