CALCASIEU, LA (KPLC) - Most people who get West Nile Virus never know they have it, according to medical professionals.
Not so for 62-year-old Katherine Mounce, who says she’s never been so sick. She keeps the light dim because it hurts her eyes.
“My head, when it first started, my left side—my face and all went numb," Mounce said, "And I had a little bit of a...my lip was drooping little bit. And I could not stand up without almost falling, everything was spinning.”
She’s hospitalized in Lake Charles and tests confirm she has West Nile virus. Her sickness is neuroinvasive disease with encephalitis.
“It is a little surprising, it’s the first case we’ve had this year and we did not have any cases of neuroinvasive disease in Calcasieu last year either," said Dr. Tim Haman, chief medical officer at Christus Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital, "In the five-parish area, I think there was only one case.”
He says it’s a reminder to take precautions against mosquitos.
“One case does not make an epidemic. It’s not something we should panic or anything like that. It is a reminder for all of us that it does exist and it’s out there and you should certainly take precautions and try to prevent mosquito bites.”
Mounce says she’s expecting a long recovery. “They say it’s going to be a difficult road, it’s not going to be quick. I’ll have to work on it. I’ll have to go to rehab after this. I’m just going to have to learn to take one day at a time and work on it to get better,” she says.
She hopes others will cover up, use repellent and stay away from mosquitoes. Haman says that there aren’t more cases speaks well of our local mosquito control.