West Nile Virus infection left Arizona man paralyzed

Recent wet weather conditions have created a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and officials with Maricopa County say they are proactively treating and identifying hot spots.

However, a lot of people are getting sick with the West Nile Virus in 2021, including a man who contracted the virus in early September, and now, according to his wife, is paralyzed.

Vickie Beard and her family are currently praying for a miracle, as her husband continues with his battle against the West Nile Virus. Beard said her husband was first hospitalized and treated for COVID-19, even after being fully vaccinated. He was on the mend at home when he got bitten by a mosquito, and then readmitted to the hospital.

"Two days in, they are saying this isn't COVID. There's something else going on," said Beard. "And I told him, 'check for West Nile Virus,'"

Beard's husband's test came back positive. He was in a coma for several days, and Beard said there was a point where they almost considered taking him off a ventilator.

Despite the tough battle and paralysis, Beard's husband is fighting.

"I'll tell him I love him, and he'll mouth 'I love you more,' but I can see the words, so he's there," said Beard.

According to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County has already had more than 150 confirmed cases of the virus. There have been 20 deaths statewide. Maricopa County Environmental Service officials say the heavy monsoon season may have contributed to these cases.

"If we have a monsoon season just as the one that we experienced recently, where there's a lot of rainfall, storm, accumulation of water, plus irrigation that are conducive to  mosquito breeding," said Johnny Dilone.

As for Beard, she wants other people to be aware of the dangers, and she is holding out hope that her husband will continue to improve.  

"We want people to be safe, and of course, I want my husband to come back to us 100%. I'm praying for that miracle, and I'm trusting God," said Beard.

Doctors tell Beard that it could take three months or up to a year before her husband fully improves, and he may even be stuck with some longer-lasting side effects.

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