West Nile Virus Infection Lingers - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

West Nile Virus Infection Lingers

Posted: Updated:

The continual spread of the West Nile virus brings more unwelcome news.

More people have become infected and the number of deaths continues to rise.

Now there's new evidence that the West Nile virus itself brings a new threat:  kidney disease years after infection.

Experts say eight in 10 people infected with West Nile virus don't get sick. At least not right away.

Baylor University West Nile expert Kristy O. Murray, PhD, DVM, says, as many as 9% of people who have mild or no initial symptoms may have persistent West Nile virus infection.

The new study finds that even in people who never had serious West Nile symptoms, the virus can burrow deep into the body.

Baylor researchers tracked about 200 people infected with West Nile infection over the last 10 years.

About 40% of them now are showing signs of kidney disease and persistent West Nile virus infection.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reports as of August 28, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes.

The CDC reports a total of 1,590 West Nile virus cases and 65 deaths.