Maybell man submits to West Nile test

When Maybell resident Brett Steele presented his symptoms to a doctor Tuesday, he was told he needed to come back and get tested for West Nile virus.

Steele's wife, Shelly, said the doctor said that he could do the test, but that Steele likely would feel better before the test results came in.

After much debate, he submitted himself for a blood test Wednesday.

"We weren't going to get it checked, then we decided we should know to see if we have West Nile in Moffat County," Shelly said. "We're exposed to lots and lots of mosquitoes here."

The results of the blood test aren't expected for at least a week and maybe as long as a month.

"I guess I'll just live with it," Brett Steele said.

Most people with West Nile virus exhibit no symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20 percent develop West Nile fever, the symptoms of which include fever, headache, tiredness and body aches. Occasionally, people get skin rashes and swollen lymph glands.

Steele had a high fever, chills and severe body aches, Shelly Steele said.

But those symptoms abated Wednesday.

"I feel better today than I did yesterday," he said.

The symptoms of severe infection termed West Nile encephalitis or meningitis include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. The CDC estimates that about one in 150 people infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease.

Symptoms of West Nile fever generally last a few days, though some people report having been sick for several weeks. Symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no cure for West Nile virus infection and those with West Nile fever generally recover on their own.

Officials with the Noyes Health Clinic in Baggs, Wyo., refused Wednesday to confirm whether a separate Craig resident was tested for West Nile virus through their clinic, saying they did not release that type of information.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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