- Emergency medicine (145)
- Health and Wellness (605)
- Healthcare Compliance (3)
- Healthcare Public Relations (1)
- Hospitalist medicine (76)
- Injury & Illness (65)
- Medical Spas (5)
- Occupational Medicine (22)
- Patient Safety (61)
- Patient Satisfaction (36)
- Patient-Centered Medical Homes (199)
- Physician Recruitment (57)
- Preventative Care (74)
- Rules & Regulations (2)
- Urgent Care Services (44)
- Work Related Injury (3)
- Workers Compensation (3)
- Workplace Safety (22)
Writer shares firsthand account of West Nile infection
10.04.2012A news story - this summer's outbreak of West Nile Virus - hit a little too close to home for Brian Vastag of the Washington Post when he was diagnosed with West Nile after being bitten by a mosquito during a visit to his parents' home in Wisconsin. After more than eight weeks of unabated fever, loss of appetite and lightheadedness, his doctor called him to confirm that his blood tests for West Nile had shown positive.
Although Vastag's battle with West Nile would be considered among the 20 percent of cases that display mild symptoms and don't require urgent medical care, he writes that his condition made focusing on his normal work routine a significant struggle. In addition, his sleeping patterns were thrown off so badly that he slept for as many as 14 hours per night, when insomnia wasn't preventing his rest.
"I trundled through the commute. Home. Walk. Train. Walk. Office. Elevator. Sit. Type. I felt disembodied, as if on drugs. But there are no drugs to treat what I had. I was a West Nile zombie," writes Vastag. "It was as if the fever had rung my noggin like a bell, and weeks later it still reverberated at some dissonant frequency."
2012 West Nile outbreak declared second-worst of all time
This year, Vastag's story is hardly unique. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that almost every state in the U.S. has confirmed cases of the insect-borne West Nile Virus, with almost 4,000 diseases and more than 160 deaths reported nationwide. A total of 16 people succumbed to the disease within one week during the worst summer for West Nile Virus in almost 10 years, states the CDC.
Compared to Jeff Shane of northwest Indiana, Brian Vastag's story doesn't sound so harrowing. The CDC says one out of every 150 individuals infected with West Nile Virus will need immediate care, as they are in danger of developing paralysis and brain damage, and have a significant risk of dying.
In the Washington Post, Shane details how a mosquito bite in 2004 left him unable to walk or move his left arm. He goes onto to recount the months he spent in the hospital before an infectious disease specialist was able to advise effective treatment.
"The lowest moment came during an attempt at showering a few weeks into my illness," he writes. "A sweet and tough older nurse was trying to spray me down when I slumped off the shower chair, feeling so weak that I asked to return to bed. As I passed a mirror, supported in her arms, I saw the shrunken person I was."
Categories: Health and Wellness
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, a proposed bill for … more
An increase in healthcare wellness research that reveals how cancer cells bypass patients' immune … more