Woman Shares Her Ordeal With West Nile Virus; 2 Cases Confirmed In Tulsa

Thursday, September 19th 2013, 9:58 pm
By: News On 6

The first two cases of West Nile Virus for 2013 have been confirmed in Tulsa County. While we're right on track for when West Nile begins to show up in Oklahoma, thanks to the weather, right now we're far removed from the numbers we saw last year.

Carrie Brigance was diagnosed with West Nile Virus last year. She said she considers herself lucky, even though she endured a brutal three-month recovery process.

She said, with the first two confirmed cases of the virus in Tulsa County, it's a perfect time to share what she went though after she was diagnosed.

"The first thing that I asked my doctor is if I was going to die," she said.

Brigance said it was this same time last year that she contracted West Nile. While the common adage is that symptoms of the virus start like the flu, Brigance said the two aren't even comparable.

"The pain is so bad in your body that you don't want to move," she said.

9/19/2013 Related Story: Two Cases Of West Nile Virus Confirmed In Tulsa County

Brigance said she lost her job and was unable to enjoy being around her four children, because she hurt every time they hugged her. She said, for nearly three months, she didn't have the energy to get out of bed.

"You can't even open your eyes or hear the slightest sound, or see the slightest of light," Brigance said.

Scott Meador, with the Tulsa Health Department said, "This is about the time of year we start seeing the human cases."

The health department said the first two confirmed West Nile Virus cases in humans this week are within the Tulsa city limits. Positive tests in mosquitoes started showing up back in August, and three new mosquito traps tested positive Thursday.

"That makes 22 out of the 75 sites that we have mosquito trap locations," Meador said.

So far this year, there have been 22 cases reported in Oklahoma and one death. This time last year, those numbers were over 150, and nine deaths.

Meador said the West Nile Virus season can run though November, so it's still too early to tell what this year will bring.

"We could have a record-breaking year," he said.

The health department said 80 percent of West Nile victims won't show any symptoms

Brigance may be in the minority, but she said she knows it could have been much worse, since some cases cause brain swelling and leave victims in a coma.

Brigance said, while she's recovered, her immune system is still weakened.

"I feel like anything that comes though my door I catch," Brigance said. "I'm now afraid to go in public places."

Brigance said, every time she and her children step outside they make sure to spray down with DEET.

The Tulsa Health Department said it runs five mosquito spraying trucks, five days a week, depending on the weather.

Go here if you'd like to have your neighborhood sprayed or find out more information about prevention.