El Paso doctor describes West Nile virus symptoms and treatments

First case of West Nile virus in El Paso has a man in a coma.

The first case of West Nile virus of the year is raising concerns in the Borderland.

A man in 40s fell into a coma after contracting the virus. West Nile can basically disguise itself like the normal flu, according to an El Paso doctor.

“It’s definitely something we need to target and definitely get better diagnostic measures,” said Edward Juarez, a doctor at MedPost Urgent Care.

Juarez was able to answer KFOX14 how the virus is treated, and what the symptoms are.

“Headaches, body aches, fever and maybe vomiting,” Juarez said. “Those are the kind of things that occurs. At first those symptoms can indicate something like the flu for us. West Nile is very hard to diagnose in the beginning, but those are the early stages of it.”

Juarez said with those symptoms in the beginning, doctors will usually prescribe medication to lower the fever and recommend lots of fluids.

In serious cases, like the recent one in El Paso, Juarez said the only treatment is supportive care. He said that requires staying in a hospital with IV fluids and maybe even have respiratory support because patients can stop breathing.

“With this recent case of West Nile, doctors may be more inclined to actually test more for the virus,” Juarez said.

As of right now, Juarez said there isn’t a very clear way to diagnose West Nile.

“Doctors will usually do a blood lab test on the patient, or even draw the cerebral body fluid in patients,” Juarez said. “They can usually get the results and see if it does indicate West Nile Virus within 24 hours.”

The recent case of West Nile virus, the family of the man who was diagnosed said the doctors didn’t test for the virus until a couple weeks later.

“The earlier you can make a diagnosis on the patient, and the sooner you start treatment, you’re going to have a better outcome,” Juarez said. “But it’s just hard to diagnose patients because these cases are…

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