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Kansas officials warn of high risk for West Nile virus

Posted at 3:58 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 19:10:09-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — More than half of Kansas is under a high risk when it comes to the West Nile virus, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

This comes as two cases were reported in Johnson County, Kansas on Tuesday.

One woman from Lone Jack, Missouri, 51-year-old Pati Fraker, said she contracted the virus back in 2012 and it changed her whole life.

"I had no noticeable bites," said Fraker.

She started to feel sick in September 2012 and knew something wasn't right. After multiple misdiagnoses, she found out she had gotten the West Nile virus.

"For about a week, I was in and out. Feverish, vomiting, couldn't really open my eyes, stiff neck," said Fraker.

From there, her life changed.

"I did have neuroinvasive West Nile virus. I did lose complete use of my right arm and all my other extremities were really weak," said Fraker.

But, after extensive rehab, Fraker has made almost a full recovery but still has side effects like fatigue.

So, if there was no bite, how can you tell you've been bitten?

"Some symptoms of West Nile virus can vary. Most people will not have any symptoms whatsoever. If you do get symptoms they can be anything from fever to headache to overall just feeling bad," said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Infectious Disease Specialist with the University of Kansas Health System. 

Hawkinson also said these mosquitoes are anywhere during this time of year.

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System are urging people to use repellent when outside and look out for the symptoms. The symptoms can take days to show up.