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Study: West Nile Might do Lasting Damage

As scary as the West Nile Virus sounds, it’s a fact that at least 80 percent of people who get it don’t know they have it.  Until recently, it was believed that most people who do contract West Nile fever recover and that’s the end of it. The Houston Chronicle reports doctors at the Texas Medical Center in Houston are rethinking that belief.


via Darren McCollester, Getty Images

The West Nile Virus is a serious threat that can cause death or brain-related disability in a tiny fraction of cases, but a new study suggests it can also cause serious and permanent damage.

Baylor College of Medicine researchers studying local people years after they were infected with West Nile Virus found that four in 10 had varying stages of chronic kidney disease related to the virus, and the kidney disease is often fatal.

Texas is in the midst of its worst West Nile season ever, and because of the study, the BCOM team is advising doctors to screen patients with a history of West Nile infection for kidney disease and those with unexplained kidney disease for the virus.


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