Many people have never been so eager for the winter to finally arrive, as several states have reported multiple deaths as a result of the West Nile virus. Of course, not everyone dies as a result of the virus. Some people are simply forced to endure the symptoms. Elizabeth “Liz” Dunavant of Little Rock, Arkansas is one such person. Unlike many victims of West Nile who contract the disease during the late summer, Liz contracted West Nile during May of 2014. Liz even remembers sustaining the mosquito bites to her foot. She claims to have felt the stings of three different mosquito bites. Shortly after she sustained the bites, Liz began experiencing the usual symptoms associated with the West Nile virus. Liz was bit by the mosquitoes on a Sunday, but by Thursday morning she woke up a “different person.” Now, more than three years later, Liz is still living with symptoms that she can barely tolerate.
Unfortunately, no vaccine for the West Nile virus exists at this time. According to a renowned West Nile researcher, Dr. A. Arturo Leis, a vaccine for the West Nile virus will probably not exist until the disease becomes “an uncontrollable epidemic.” The first symptoms that Liz experienced involved weakness, a burning pain on her spine, and pain while blowing her nose. The next day, Friday, Liz had developed acute encephalitis and meningitis. This diagnosis was made in less than a week after she had been bitten by the mosquitoes that transmitted the virus. For the next two months Liz suffered with flu like symptoms and a constant headache. Now, Liz no longer medically has the virus, but she still has to tolerate lingering symptoms. As far as these lingering symptoms go, no doctor can help her. Liz simply has to live with these symptoms for, what might be, the rest of her life. The West Nile virus has cost Liz her job and social life, and she cannot stress enough how important it is to exercise the proper safety precautions while outdoors for the remainder of the summer.
Do you live in a state with any reported cases of West Nile? Has anybody died in your state as a result of contracting the disease? Do you use mosquito repellent before setting foot outdoors?