Local grandfather endures long-term effects from West Nile virus

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by Rekha Muddaraj / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM

HOUSTON -- John Shaw is still recovering from a dangerous eight-year-old mosquito bite that .

Shaw is a grandfather, travel agent, and he's living with the West Nile virus.

“I just had no energy,” Shaw said. “I slept until three, four in the afternoon. I didn't want to eat.”

Shaw spent two weeks in intensive care, and it took doctors several weeks to pinpoint his sickness.

Shaw doesn't even remember being bitten by a mosquito, but he knew what he had was dangerous.

“Here in Houston and Texas, there has been a lot of deaths,” Shaw said.

He said the virus drained him of his strength, and significantly worsened pre-existing medical conditions.

He said it's why an open wound on his leg just won't heal.

“We took that off a couple times and my skin just boils and blisters,” Shaw said.

He visits a physician every week.

The CDC say between 70%-80% of people infected with the virus, don’t know they have it.

Dr. Judianne Kellaway, an ophthalmologist with UT Health who examined Shaw, said most people don’t exhibit symptoms.

“We have patients who have gotten a call back from the blood saying they can't be a donor because they have West Nile in the blood,” Kellaway said.

Shaw has a long, unknown road of treatment ahead of him, but he is happy more is being done to learn, and hopefully prevent, this disease.

“You've got two choices, sit there and cry or move on and enjoy life,” Shaw said. “I enjoy it.”

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