Living with the West Nile Virus - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/12/03

Living with the West Nile Virus

So far this year, Lubbock County leads the state, with nine confirmed human cases. Now, a 20-year-old Lubbock resident shares details about her struggle with the virus.

"The more you get up, the more you'll get well," says Danielle Sweat's mother Sonja Wood. Danielle and her mom Sonja try to remain positive by keeping the mood light despite dealing with a weighty issue. "Ok seriously, I can't. I've got to figure out another way to do this," says Danielle. Just getting up off the floor after home therapy is now a struggle. What used to be a simple task for this dancer and athlete, is now hard work.

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Danielle is now beginning to walk on her own, but only after a month long battle with the West Nile virus. "It's a scary thing. It's really scary when you're laying in a hospital bed and can't move," says Danielle. What's also scary is that Danielle had to get a second opinion. The first doctor misdiagnosed her. He told her she was fine and to go home and take some Tylenol. "Then, I started losing muscle power in my legs. I couldn't walk and had a real bad headache and I said, 'We've got to go see another doctor'," says Danielle.

The second doctor admitted her to the ER and immediately started to perform blood tests and MRI's. Within minutes, the doctor suspected West Nile. Within days, lab tests confirmed it.

Today, Danielle still isn't as well as she'd like to be. She starts school again soon and she's lost 20 pounds. But doctors do expect a full recovery with plenty of therapy. She's living proof that West Nile can be beat, but also, and perhaps more notably, proof that it can strike anyone at anytime.

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Danielle and her husband live near 95th and Chicago. Mosquitoes from a playa lake in their neighborhood have tested positive for the virus. Danielle suspects she contracted the virus while doing yard work.

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