Local woman still battling West Nile virus after two years

HOYT, Kan. (KSNT)– For most people, a mosquito bite results in an itch. But, it can go beyond that.

One doctor says 25 to 40 percent of people will experience the symptoms of West Nile, and for most people the symptoms are relatively non-specific and like any viral illness.

That was the case for Susan White who contracted West Nile in 2015.

Doctors thought her paralysis was brought on by low potassium and low sodium. But a year later, when her husband tested positive for West Nile virus, she asked for the same test.

It was positive.

“It’s been a gradual learning process of trying to help myself and go to the right physical therapist to try and repair the damage done,” White said.

She is still working to overcome her paralysis.

“The night of the election, I screwed in a light bulb for the first time in a year,” she said.

She struggles with what many who have the virus call West Nile fear and anger.

“How has it changed my life?” she asked. “A lot of us live our lives before West Nile and after West Nile.”

Symptoms of mild West Nile virus include fever with headaches, body aches, or a rash.

More severe cases are noted by paralysis, vision loss, neck stiffness and disorientation.

The Centers for Disease and Control says there are ways you can protect yourself.

  • You should always use bug spray and re-apply it the longer you are outside.
  • Be sure to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants.
  • To make sure mosquitoes aren’t getting in your house, use screens on your windows and doors.
  • Empty items that hold water like buckets, flower pots, or trash cans once a week.

You can find more information on West Nile virus and prevention by clicking here.

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