The most severe type of disease due to a person being infected with West Nile virus is sometimes called “neuroinvasive disease” because it affects a person’s nervous system. Specific types of neuroinvasive disease include: West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis or West Nile meningoencephalitis.
Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain, meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, and meningoencephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain and the membrane surrounding it.
West Nile fever is another type of illness that can occur in people who become infected with the virus. It is characterized by fever, headache, tiredness, aches and sometimes rash. Although the illness can last as short as a few days, even healthy people have been sick for several weeks.