West Nile survivor says beware mosquitoes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

West Nile survivor says beware mosquitoes

August 20, 2004

Lee County -- West Nile virus attacks Georgians again.  Two Fulton County men are infected with West Nile Virus, the first confirmed cases in the state of the season.

The peak period of danger from the mosquito borne disease is now, from August through October.

A Southwest Georgia man, who nearly died after being infected by mosquito bites last fall, says it can happen to anyone.

65 year old Reed Hatfield does not venture into his backyard without spraying on mosquito repellent. Hatfield said "There is where I feel like I got bit."

 Haftfield feels he is almost fully recovered now, but last fall he came near death from West Nile Virus. "you know a lot of people die from this. And a lot of people end up with severe neurological effects from it."

A retired taxidermist, Hatfield has been a hunter and outdoorsman his entire life. Hatfield said "Had about 103 degree temperature. Thought I was coming down with the flu to start with."

 October 29th he became gravely ill. Hatfield said " My wife got me to the emergency room. They finally through a spinal tap diagnosed that I had viral meningo encephalitis, better known as West Nile Virus."

Hatfield has battled tremors since contracting the deadly virus. Hatfield said "Weakness, just not having any endurance that you normally had."

Hatfield warns people that West Nile is a danger to everyone, if they don't take precautions. "This time of year is the worst time for it. So people really need to be careful."

Hatfield will continue to enjoy the outdoors, but he will wear DEET repellents every time.

West Nile rarely kills, but those with previous medical conditions can be at higher risk of complications.

posted at 3:26 PM by jimw@walb.com

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