Depression after Infection with West Nile Virus

Kristy O. Murray; Melissa Resnick; Vicki Miller


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2007;13(3):479-481. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Previous reports have noted depression after West Nile virus (WNV) infection. We further measured this outcome and found that 31% of patients reported new-onset depression and 75% of these had Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scores indicative of mild-to-severe depression. Physicians should be aware of neuropsychiatric consequences of WNV in patients.

West Nile virus (WNV) was identified for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in New York City in 1999; since then, a dramatic westward and southward spread of WNV activity has occurred in the United States.[1,2] In 2002, WNV was identified in the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area, resulting in 105 human cases.[3]

Long-term clinical sequelae after infection are still being defined. A year after the outbreak of WNV in New York City, 38% of patients subjectively reported depression.[4] Another 1-year follow-up in Colorado noted that 23% of patients reported anxiety and depression.[5] In Houston, we have been conducting a prospective study that involves both subjective and objective measurements of physical, neurologic, and cognitive functioning of patients identified with symptomatic WNV infections. We describe the subjective and objective evaluations of depression in these patients.


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