West Nile Virus Strikes in West Tennessee

Cyndi Lundeberg

TRENTON, Tenn. - West Nile, a virus that has killed more than 1,300 people in the United States, has left two people hospitalized in Gibson County.

82 year old Dorothy Kilzer was one of the residents. After three weeks in the hospital she says she's thankful to be home.

"I think they need to spray, I reckon. I don't know!" Kilzer said.

Kilzer says her friends noticed her acting unusual while running errands, and came to her aid. Once at the hospital doctors believed she had suffered a stroke, but testing through a state lab confirmed the mosquito born virus was to blame.

"I didn't remember," Kilzer said of her friends picking her up." I knew they had come to get me and I thought it was all kind of funny," she said.

Kilzer's niece, Marilee Little, says she was terrified when she heard her elderly aunt had contracted the virus.

"I didn't really know what to think!" Little said. "I've heard about West Nile virus. It's not a good feeling."

Kilzer believes she contracted the virus from sitting outside during evening, talking with neighbors. There have been more than 11 hundred cases of the virus in all fifty states in just the past year.

Trenton Mayor Tony Burriss says they are waiting on tests to confirm a second case of the virus for a thirty-year-old man. Mayor Burriss says he is concerned with the illnesses and hopes everyone affected recovers quickly.

Kilzer says every day she gets a little bit better. She credits her improving health to the prayers and dozens of cards sent her way.

"I couldn't do it without my friends!" Kilzer said.

The Center For Disease Control says the best way to protect yourself from contracting the virus is to use repellents and avoid still water which attracts mosquitos.

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