West Nile Virus (WNV) Infection and Encephalitis (WNE) Medication

Updated: Apr 05, 2021
  • Author: David J Cennimo, MD, FAAP, FACP, FIDSA, AAHIVS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

No specific drug treatment exists for West Nile encephalitis (WNE). Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment.

Vaccine development has been in process since the mid-2000s. NIH-funded vaccine development entered clinical trial in 2015. However, no vaccine has been FDA-approved to prevent WNE.



Class Summary

These agents are helpful in relieving the associated lethargy, malaise, and fever associated with the disease.

Acetaminophen (Acephen, FeverAll, Tylenol)

Acetaminophen inhibits the action of endogenous pyrogens on heat-regulating centers; it reduces fever by a direct action on the hypothalamic heat-regulating centers, which, in turn, increases the dissipation of body heat via sweating and vasodilation. It is effective in relieving mild to moderate acute pain; however, it has no peripheral anti-inflammatory effects. Acetaminophen may be preferred in elderly patients because of fewer GI and renal side effects.