West Nile leaves Arizona man paralyzed

An Arizona man from the Phoenix metro area has been left paralyzed after a West Nile infection, according to a local ABC affiliate.

Four days after being bitten by a mosquito, Nicholas Cornelius began experiencing flu-like symptoms. Less than a week after the onset of said symptoms, Mr. Cornelius couldn't walk and had to be taken to an intensive care unit. He was paralyzed from the waist down and subsequently spent two weeks in the hospital. It took an MRI plus a litany of blood draws and other tests to determine that Mr. Cornelius was infected with West Nile virus.

The CDC says most people (70 to 80 percent) infected with West Nile virus don't ever develop symptoms. However, less than 1 percent of people infected with the virus can develop serious neurologic illnesses, like paralysis. People over 60 and those with certain medical conditions, like cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease, and people who have received an organ transplant, are at greater risk of serious complications.

According to the ABC affiliate, Mr. Cornelius has been informed he will walk again, but only after a significant amount of physical therapy. About 10 percent of people who develop a neurologic condition from West Nile virus will die, the CDC says.

Learn more about the mosquito-borne illness here.

More articles on infection control: 
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