Woman recently diagnosed with West Nile Virus fearful after Louisville death

West Nile survivors share their stories on how the virus attacked their bodies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Public health workers announced Thursday one of two people in Jefferson County infected with the West Nile Virus this year has died.

That’s scary for a lot of people, but especially the other person, just diagnosed in September, who said her symptoms aren’t going away.

Ann Robinson Burks has been sitting at home for weeks. Her energy levels have left her feeling tapped out.

"Honestly, terrible most of the time," Burks said.

Burks said she was diagnosed with the West Nile Virus last month.

"This is all very painful, burning, not really itching, but a burn, tingling, numbness. I can't hardly walk on them," she said describing a rash on her feet.

In addition to that, she said she gets dizzy easily and has been having involuntary muscle twitches.

Burks said an out-of-state doctor has now diagnosed her with something scary, stating her case has reached her nervous system.

"I'm praying that it's not a lifetime for me," Burks said.

Thursday, her mortality was once again on the top of her mind.

Burks said her family was afraid they'd lost her.

“My brother even called me because he didn’t even know,” Burks said. “He was like, ‘Annie, this is Dan. Are you okay?’ I’m like ‘I’m fine’."

Louisville man Gary Jamison was diagnosed with West Nile four years ago.
Louisville man Gary Jamison was diagnosed with West Nile four years ago. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Across town, Gary Jamison was already thinking about the virus. Four years ago to the day has was diagnosed with it.

"I was bit by a mosquito with West Nile Virus," Jamison said.

He said the death announcement reminded him of why he's still around.

"How lucky I was," Jamison said.

Not only was he paralyzed, but he said his heart stopped.

"I thought I'm going to be in a nursing home the rest of my life," Jamison said. "Got the road pulled out from under me."

Jamison said he's now walking with a cane.

He and Burks said the deadly day is a reminder to take the virus seriously.

“Once I had died and was resurrected, there’s got to be another reason why I was brought back,” Jamison said. “So, I think the reason for me, in my heart, is to be proactive, to warn as many people about it and get the word out.”

Burks said she has created an online fundraiser to cover costs as medical bills stack up and the virus keeps her out of work. You can find it here.

Both of the people WAVE 3 News spoke with are not even sure the moment a mosquito bit them.

They both said the best defense is to use bug repellent.

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