West Nile victim details close call

September 9, 2008 3:29:34 PM PDT
In an exclusive interview with Action News, one of the latest people confirmed to have West Nile virus uses his ordeal to warn others about the dangers of the mosquito-borne disease.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported 3 new confirmed human cases of West Nile virus, and 1 suspected one in the Philadelphia area. One case was in Delaware County, one in Bucks, and one in the Bustleton-Somerton section of Northeast Philadelphia.

Another suspected case is in Delaware County.

The state's first human case was reported in Montgomery County several weeks ago.

Action News has spoken exclusively to one of those cases, Harry Nuss of Newtown Square.

"I still think it was a bite right here," Nuss told HealthCheck reporter Ali Gorman.

The 65-year-old Nuss says he didn't think much of a mosquito bite he got, until he realized what it may of caused.

Several weeks ago, Harry says he woke up with double vision. His wife took him to the hospital and says within hours he had a fever of 104.5, and became delirious.

Sue Nuss says, "He had no idea who he was, where he was, he couldn't walk."

Nuss spent several days in the ICU, where he was diagnosed with a severe type of West Nile Virus.

It is spread by mosquitoes and causes encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.

Sue Nuss says she was told he may not make it, and if he did -

"He could possibly be paralyzed, have an altered personality, lose speech or eyesight- which of course really frightened me."

Thankfully, Harry beat the odds. He's home now, but still exhausted.

"I get up in the morning, shower and shave and I'm ready to go back to bed," he says.

Now he wants to warn others that West Nile Virus is a real threat. He reminds people to use insect repellent, and get rid of standing water.

Nuss says, "I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I've never been beat down so bad."


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