Louisville, Ky. (WKYT) - It started like the flu, but a Louisville woman nearly died from what turned out to be West Nile.
Deborah Vaughn says the illness began with a fever, nausea and diarrhea.
"I thought I caught the flu," Vaughn said.
Vaughn's condition worsened and partial paralysis set in. That's when her husband decided she needed to get to the hospital.
"I was scared, yeah. I try not to cry, because by the time I got to the hospital, they told me that they didn't know what was wrong with her," said Bruce Vaughn.
With her sickness still a mystery, Deborah Vaughn neared death and stopped breathing.
Later, she learned she had the West Nile virus.
She got it from mosquito bite she doesn't even remember.
After three weeks at University of Louisville Hospital, Deborah Vaughn is now recovering at Frazier Rehab.
She is re-learning how to talk and walk.
"Not that many people go on to develop what she has, which is called West Nile encephalitis, which she had an inflammation of her brain," said Dr. Sarah Wagers with Frazier Rehab.
Doctors recommend common sense prevention, like staying inside at dawn and dusk, wearing long pants and sleeves in wooded areas and wearing bug spray with DEET.
Early signs of west nile include fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting.
Doctors recommend getting help if symptoms last more than 3-4 days.
Only about one in 150 people infected with west nile ever develop severe symptoms.
About one in 10 of those cases are fatal.
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