West Nile virus can hit anyone - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

West Nile virus can hit anyone

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Chances are, some of you have a mosquito bite right now.

We're going into the peak season of the West Nile virus and while the chances are slim, don't think you can't get it.

What happened to Mallory Cook is proof. Her story starts in Memphis. It was summer time.

"I was probably swimming or outside at a cookout," Cook said.

Two weeks later, she started feeling awful. She says she couldn't even hold herself up.

" Very dizzy, weak. We decided to go to the hospital when I couldn't get out of the bathtub and I had to call my dad to help me out," she said.

She says her blood count was so low, she was told by doctors there  was a chance she had leukemia.

" I'm pretty sure I started balling my eyes out. I was terrified. I don't think I slept for the next couple of days," she said.

Turns out, she had the West Nile virus. It lives in birds. Mosquitoes bite birds. When those mosquitoes bite us, that's when we get sick.

"If you're a healthy person, most of the time you're not going to get severe diseases. Most of the time you won't have any symptoms at all, mild fever or headache," said. Dr. Jon McCullers.

Dr. McCullers specializes in infectious diseases.

He says you could be infected with West Nile and not even know it.

Less than one percent of people who are infected become severely ill. Usually it's those who are older or kids.

So why Mallory?

"We don't know why some people might get it and others don't. It has something to do with exposure and immunity," said Dr. McCullers.

Health experts  say the chances anyone will get West Nile are highest in August, but there is some good news.

"Now that most of the population has been exposed, most of us aren't going to get sick, but make sure you protect yourself," he warned.

You don't have to tell Mallory twice.

How to protect yourself from West Nile Virus: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/link/644571/how-to-protect-yourself-from-west-nile-virus


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