Duration of West Nile Virus and conection with Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Asked February 26, 2013, 12:55 PM EST

My husband was diagosised with GBS three weeks ago through a spinal tap. He had a seizure, and a mild stroke. Today his doctor at a new hospital just received the spinal cord results from the previous hospital and it shows that he has the west nile virus. Can the virus just lay dormant and will this affect the GBS.

Philadelphia County Pennsylvania

1 Response

I am sorry to hear about your husband. Honestly, a medical doctor or researcher would be the best person to answer your questions. I did find some information about West Nile virus, but I have no idea how that may or may not affect GBS.

I found a reference to a journal article, "Persistent Infection with West Nile Virus Years after Initial Infection" on the Centers for Disease and Prevention website (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/persistent.htm). Also realize that most (80 percent) of the people who are infected with the West Nile virus do not even get sick or know they were infected. About 20 percent get mild symptoms (similar to the flu lasting a few days to several weeks), while 1 in 150 get the more severe West Nile virus infections (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/symptoms.htm).

Your county contact is Ray Delaney, email: Raymond.Delaney@phila.gov, phone: 215-685-9005 or 215-685-9003. He may have a contact at the PA Department of Health who may have more medical expertise.

Here are some websites on West Nile virus:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: West Nile Virus: Fight the Bite!

Pennsylvania's West Nile Virus Control Program:

National Pesticide Information Center: West Nile Virus

Penn State Pesticide Education Program: West Nile Virus

I am sorry I could not be of more help, but I hope that maybe some of these resources may lead you to people with more expertise.