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Weber County Virus First Reported Victim Continues Recovery



OGDEN – The first reported case of West Nile virus in Weber County will soon go the long way to rehabilitation after a stay at Mckay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.

Gina Vodopich said her son, Ryan Stewart, is a perfectly healthy 37-year-old who enjoyed grilling and working in the yard of a new home he recently bought in Ogden.

That's until a few weeks ago when he called his mother to tell her she was ill.

Vodopich said Stewart complained of neck pain and "debilitating headache," but it wasn't until the sixth day of his illness that he received a phone call that worried her.

She said her son disagreed on the phone and when he arrived

Stewart was diagnosed with a rare case of West Nile virus infected by infected mosquitoes that develops in a neuroinvasive disease. [1

9659002] Tuesday marked Stuart's ninth day at the hospital, most of which he spent in intensive care. Once released, he faces months of rehabilitation and the full impact of the virus on his nervous system is still unknown.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although most affected people (1 in 8) do not present it with present symptoms, 1 in every 150 cases of the virus develops in a non-invasive condition such as that of Stuart. Of those affected, 1 in 5 will show milder symptoms such as fever and body aches.

According to the Utah Department of Health, this year the state has observed 11 reported cases of the virus, six of which have developed into a non-invasive disease, which can be fatal. The department reports that those 60 or older or suffering from certain diseases are more likely to develop more serious forms of the virus.

Although, fortunately, Utah has not yet experienced West Nile virus mortality this year, in 2018, one victim succumbed to the virus and in 2017, six people died.

Multiple counties across the country report mosquito populations carrying West Nile virus, including Wint, Duchenne, Box Elder, Davis, Weber, Washington, Salt Lake, Cash and Utah. The Utah Department of Health reports a total of 162 West Nile mosquito pools nationwide for 2019.

Since there are no vaccines or treatments for West Nile virus, early detection will not help control the virus. However, Amy Carter, a nurse at Weber-Morgan Health, said, "if you have a fever, we recommend that you visit your doctor." She added that medical centers may offer "supportive therapy."

She said those who experience neuroinvasive forms of the disease can make full or partial recovery, sometimes including some permanent loss of locomotor function due to effects on the nervous system.

Aimee Carter, Weber-Morgan Health Nurse, Department of Health, talks about choosing the right bug repellent to protect mosquitoes that could transmit West Nile virus during a press conference at Intermountain Hospital McKay-Dee in Ogden on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Carter said he should look for labels labeled DEET and follow the instructions on the box. (Photo: Colter Peterson, KSL)

Vodopich said after her son was released from the hospital, they expect rehabilitation to continue until early next year. She noted that although his condition has stabilized, his brain is still swollen and he is in and out of consciousness.

Her son "hangs in there" and "takes baby steps," she said. He says about 10 words a day, though many are incomprehensible or incomprehensible.

Vodopich said that her son would have started a new job when he became ill and she had not yet been able to contact his employers or find out if he was currently insured. Her life, she said, came "in a scream" after her son became ill.

Because withdrawal of symptoms can take two to 14 days after someone has contracted West Nile virus, she said she did not know when or where her son was bitten, but he did not leave Ogden.

"To prevent this from happening, a 30-second mosquito spray procedure may have to be done," she emphasized.

Carter voiced the sentiment, advising Yutani to wear a mosquito repellent that contains EPA approval and contains a child.

The Utah Department of Health also advises residents to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at times when mosquitoes are most active (dawn, dusk, and early in the evening) and to drain sources of stagnant water in yards.

She said outside the states concerned, "Utah is becoming a lower risk," and noted that it attributes this partly to public education and partly to effective reduction.

For more information about the virus, visit cdc.gov/westnile. records19659024 summoned saved19659025 imagesPhotos19659026]
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