South Dakota woman relives past after suffering from West Nile v - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota woman relives past after suffering from West Nile virus

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McCook Lake (ABC9 News) - Janice Howard was enjoying an evening out on a deck at McCook Lake when she says it happened. "I've never been so sick in my life and I can't imagine anything worse than this,” said Janice Howard.

A mosquito bite changed her life. She started having problems with her vision and speech along with severe body aches. After seeing a doctor, she was diagnosed with west nile virus; something caused by a single bite from a mosquito...that leads to big problems.

"It's a virus and so there is nothing they can do, they just pump me full of iv's while I was in the hospital and they just said you have to get over this on your own,” said Howard

The Sanford Vermillion Clinic is familiar with west nile victims. Anthony Burbach is a physician's assistant who says cases like Janice's are the worst ones.

"And about 1 percent of those people will get the meningitis or encephalitis version, which is the much more severe version in to the brain or spinal cord area,” said Anthony Burbach, physician assistant at Sanford Vermillion

According to trust for America's health, South Dakota is a hot spot for mosquitoes. As of last year, 203 west nile cases were reported in the state. this year, there have already been 148 but you can take steps to avoid infection. Mosquitoes tend to gather around standing water and come out at dusk, especially when it's warmer outside.

The best thing you can do is to wear long sleeves and mosquito repellent.

Although it took the virus a year to get out of Janice's system, she still found time to laugh it off.

"I have a new respect for mosquitoes I used to think they were a nasty little gnat. You just swatted it and they went away. They told me, they think I'm immune to it now, but I don't want to test that theory,” said Howard.

"Now lots of health care professionals say you might night see the symptoms right away but it's always good to get a check-up.

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