Possible First Case Of West Nile In El Paso County

A woman visiting Ellicott for the summer could be El Paso County's first case of the West Nile virus. She told 11 News her doctors gave her the diagnosis this weekend.

We also checked with the hospital where she was treated. A spokesman told us they're just waiting for final confirmation. The test should be back within 48 hours.

Nancy Red Willow thinks the recent storms that brought the water also brought in the mosquitoes. But surprisingly, she says she wasn't even outside when she was bitten.

"I was told by the ER that I was the first one to get bit by a mosquito with the virus," Red Willow said.

She’s on vacation and staying with her niece in Ellicott for the summer. Red Willow was inside her niece's house on July 22 when she remembers being bitten on her right arm. Two days later, Red Willow said symptoms started setting in.

Red Willow said she started getting really bad headaches and felt sharp pains the right side of her body. By July 26, she knew something was wrong.

"They thought it was a blood clot in my right lung because I couldn't hardly breathe, and I was really nauseous. My head hurt so bad, my right side went numb, and I couldn't hardly walk," Red Willow said.

Two weeks ago heavy storms in eastern El Paso County created heavy flooding in the Ellicott area, washing out roads in her niece’s neighborhood.

Part of the affected road, Handle Road, is still underwater as of Monday night. We talked to a county spokesman who said road crews have been working in the area to fix the affected roads.

Standing water creates optimal conditions for mosquito populations to grow, and in turn, increase the risk of contracting the West Nile virus. But officials say that right now, there’s no solution for the section of road that remains underwater at this time. It's rained in the area every day for the past two weeks, and Handle Road sits in a low-lying area. Even though the county wants to pump the water out, officials says there's nowhere for the water to go. It would eventually end up right back on the road.

West Nile can be deadly, but Red Willow said her doctor believes the symptoms should subside in about 10 days.

"It is really scary. I don't know what to think, so hopefully I will get better," Red Willow said.

No final confirmation about this West Nile case, but we talked to the health department; they told us when they get final confirmation, they'll be sure to let everyone know.


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