THE VIRUS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Most people infected with West Nile virus do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. But about 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. Every survivor of West Nile virus has quite a story to tell, and usually, some good advice to go along with it. Here we present the story of Keira Domer written by Anna Barela for Sacramento News and Review.
KEIRA DOMER: GRATEFUL TO BE ALIVE
by Anna Barela
Keira Domer’s life changed the day she contracted West Nile neuroinvasive disease – the worst known form of West Nile virus – presumably from a mosquito along Putah Creek in Davis. As her symptoms proliferated, Domer sought medical treatment and diagnosis. But it would be a long wait before Domer knew the cause of her symptoms, and even longer for her to fully recover.
Domer – named Simmons at the time – frequently hiked with her fiancé, Paul, along Putah Creek after work during the spring of 2005. Domer worked in research at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She and Paul had been dating for about six months, and she was planning to attend medical school to continue her work with infectious disease research. She never considered the possibility of West Nile virus interrupting her life. READ MORE >>
BUT DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT…
Watch these videos to see the real-life impact of West Nile virus, right here in our District and across the country.
WEST NILE VIRUS SURVIVOR IN WINTERS
When former District board member Marie Heilman noticed how dizzy and lethargic she suddenly felt, she knew something wasn’t right.
A few days earlier, the vivacious 40-year-old mother of four, a retired computer engineer, had been feeling quite well, but on this morning in early August 2006, upon arriving home in the western Yolo County town of Winters after driving her daughter to the airport, she went back to bed. When her husband got home that evening, she was still under the covers. “Which is really unusual for me,” Marie recalled. “I don’t sleep a lot. And I just said, ‘I don’t know, I’ve got vertigo, I don’t feel good, I’m vomiting.’ And the next day, I just started having really bad spasms.” So Marie went to the doctor, who prescribed something for the nausea and vertigo and sent her home.
Her condition soon worsened. The spasms felt like someone was jabbing a knife in her lower back and pulling it up her spine to her shoulders. “By the time it got to my neck, the pain was so horrible,” she said. “I would just yell or pass out. It was like a frying pan was hitting me behind the ears really hard.” Marie’s vision was blurred and she was confused, so she went back to her doctor in Woodland, who sent her to the emergency room and ordered up a lumbar puncture, better known as a spinal tap. The diagnosis: meningitis, a byproduct of West Nile virus infection. READ MORE>>