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doc4kids, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 456
Experience:  General Pediatrics and Pediatric Emergency Medicine
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What should I do if I think my toddler has contracted the

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What should I do if I think my toddler has contracted the West Nile Virus? He was bitten about 5 days ago at his father's, but didn't seem to have anything wrong until yesterday. He has been running a low grade fever since yesterday, sweating (kind of like when you have the flu), and has a "bumpy" rash on his arms and legs. He also has thrown up twice and is sleeping over 4 hours at nap time compared to his regular hour. I don't want to be "that" parent, but I also don't want to regret not asking if it turns into something worse. Thanks

doc4kids : Hello. How can I help? If you are available for a chat, we can discuss your concern in real time. Otherwise, I can just leave you a reply.
doc4kids : West Nile virus infections are more common in summer months given the increase in mosquito exposure during that time. Still though overall, they are reasonably uncommon in the US. Why do we think he has West Nile virus? You symptom description could be of many other viral infections and the majority of these are also not treated either. The treatment for West Nile virus is supportive unless the child has symptoms of neuroinvasive disease.
doc4kids : How is he doing taking fluids? Is he walking, talking okay?

I am concerned because he was has 6 mosquito bites on him that he received at his father's house. He lives in an area that has confirmed cases of WNV. Also, my son has a very strong immune system, and is not prone to getting sick.


He doesn't want to eat or drink hardly at all. He normally drinks quite a bit, but is drinking roughly 3 or 4 ounces at a time.


And he received the bites this past Tuesday, the 23rd.

doc4kids : mosquito bites are incredibly common, infections from West Nile virus, even in endemic areas is a lot less common.
doc4kids : Is he any more likely to take fluids or look or feel better when his temperature is down?

yes, but I've given him tylenol and his temp is staying at or above 100

doc4kids : Well the response, or lack of complete response, is not a sign of any more serious infection. Ibuprofen is often more effective.
doc4kids : But to answer your question what to do if he has WNV, the treatment is supportive care. Temperature control, lots of fluids, solids as he can tolerate. He will sleep more than normal.

Ok, so I'll try ibuprofen for the fever. And when should I be concerned if he isn't better? WNV seems like such a vague virus - but my neighbor's 10 year old died of it last year, and the doctor told her if she had only "brought her in sooner they could have done something." So again, my concern becomes what do I need to pay attention to in case it IS something more serious? I realize it is highly unlikely, but it's already hit so close to home I'm not chancing it.

doc4kids : This is though true of most viral infections. There is no specific antiviral medicine for this infection. There are IV immunomodulating treatments, reserved though for when patients have signs of neurological disease, significant respiratory infection, etc.
doc4kids : I understand hen why you are concerned. In general we tell patients if he has alteration of mental status ( is not behaving normally) , is having hard or fast breathing, or if he is not willing to take fluids.
doc4kids : This would be signs of worsening disease.

Ok, thank you. That is essentially what I needed to know. I would rather be overly cautious than something worse happen.

doc4kids : I am a parent too. I totally understand your concern. I would expect your son to slowly improve over the next 5-7 days. His strong constitution, unfortunately won't keep him from getting infections but perhaps he'll get better faster b

Well thank you. I will keep an eye on him. I appreciate your time and response.

doc4kids : Please continue to follow your instincts,. If he is looking sicker, have him see his doctor. You are welcome. Please let me know if you have other concerns.
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How is your son feeling now? Are symptoms getting better?