reports for NPR. (NPR graphic) Some victims suffer neurological problems such as seizures, coma, paralysis of limbs, swelling in the brain or spinal cord, and even death. Patients often face high costs of care and long recovery times, months or sometimes years.
"But the biggest economic cost of treating West Nile virus, by far, was decades of work lost when people died of the diease," Doucleff writes. Epidemiologist J. Erin Staples and her team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the deaths caused by West Nile cost the U.S. approximately $450 million since the first case in 1999, Doucleff reports. Staples said that "the purpose of the report was to give communities a sense of how much West Nile illnesses actually cost," Sherry Jacobson reports for the Dallas Morning News. "This will allow people to better assess the impact of the disease burden and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of their prevention programs," she told Jacobson.