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West Nile Virus Survivor Speaks about Disease

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Posted: Sep 10, 2012 5:34 PM

Updated: Sep 10, 2012 6:36 PM

ALAMO - A Rio Grande Valley man says West Nile virus altered his life forever.

"I can't do too much ... I can't (mow) the yard ... I can't walk from here to the school without my legs cramping up," Brad Smith said. He contracted the virus in 2003.

Smith said he spends most of his time at home to conserve his energy.

"All I can remember is that I was at my friend's house and the next thing I know I woke up in the hospital, 30 days later," he said.

Smith said his prognosis was bleak.

"They told me ... that they thought I was going to die. ... They had called my mother sometime after midnight telling her that I wasn't going to make it through the night," he said.

He said people need to take precautions against the potentially deadly virus. He said anyone with West Nile symptoms should see a doctor because it's better to be safe than sorry.

Health officials said symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and severe weakness.

Dr. Brian Smith, with the Texas Department of State Health Services, said the body creates an antibody once the virus has been contracted. That means a person can't get West Nile virus twice. He said each body reacts differently to the virus. Some patients will return to a normal life, while others feel the effects for the rest of their lives.

Topics: brad smith, west nile, brian smith, texas health

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