West Nile Affects More Than Just The Elderly

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Stuck in the hospital and infected with West Nile Virus, Kenneth Hamburger is posting to social media, making public what is normally a very private matter.

“I never knew I would get it. I never thought in a million years,” said Hamburger.

In an attempt to help others, Hamburger is trying to share his pain. He is suffering as a result of the mosquito borne illness and want others to take it more seriously.

“Nobody ever said this is how painful West Nile can be. It’s just like West Nile can kill the elderly and the young,” said Hamburger.  “I was like I wish other people had kind of been more open about it because I probably would have put more Deet on when I went outside.”

Hamburger first targeted his Lower Greenville neighborhood on Facebook. He shared a picture of himself in the hospital bed and wrote about what it felt like to have the West Nile Virus.

Hundreds of comments and shares later, attention has grown throughout Dallas.

“It was an incredibly selfless act,” said Grant Schmidt, a neighbor.

Schmidt lives across the street from Hamburger, where the bite likely originated. He said the post made him take the virus more seriously now that he has a face to put to the situation.

“When you start hearing about the pain somebody is going through and the fact that it’s right down the street, it just allows you to be aware,” said Schmidt.

Hamburger, who is still slowly fighting off the virus with no cure and feels if he helps just one person, his painful post was worthwhile.

“I just want people to realize it can happen to them. It’s not that isolated,” said Hamburger.

Of the 40 people who’ve contracted West Nile Virus in Dallas County in 2016, one person has died.

The county health department urges folks to where Deet, dress with long clothing, drain standing water and limit time outside during dusk and dawn.

 (©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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One Comment

  1. Ron Hunter says:

    Most healthy young, to middle aged people would have the virus and not know it. There are always exceptions, and I am sorry Mr. Hamburger was one of them. I stay away from mosquitoes, and they don’t seem to like me anyway, so my risk is trivial. Hope he recovers quickly, with no long-term effects.

  2. An explanation of, and possible treatment of, West Nile
    Virus, Zika virus, and other viruses exists but continues to be ignored. The following is my explanation of how the Zika virus is penetrating populations and includes the connection with West Nile Virus.

    I suggest the basis of Zika virus infection and the negative effects of Zika virus infection is low dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Low DHEA may be involved in the type I TNF response you, et al., report in “Cell Stem Cell.”

    For some years now, and ignored as a potential treatment for West Nile Virus and other viruses as far as I can determine, is this report of “Protection by dehydroepiandrosterone in mice infected with viral encephalitis,” Arch Virol. 1991;120(3-4):263-71.

    Also, and more directly related to your, et al., report, is the relationship of DHEA, and its immediate connected steroid, androstenediol, to “type I IFN production.” “Androstenediol [and DHEA] antagonizes herpes simplex virus type 1-induced encephalitis through the augmentation of type I IFN production,” J Immunol. 1998 Mar 15;160(6):3060-6.

    It is my hypothesis that evolution selected dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) because it optimizes replication and transcription of DNA, that is, genes. Therefore, DHEA levels affect all tissues and all tissues compete for available DHEA, especially the brain. (I think evolutionary selection of DHEA produced mammalia. “Hormones in Mammalian Evolution,” Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 2001; 94: 177-184). DHEA naturally begins to decline around the ages of twenty to twenty-five, reaching very low levels in old age. When DHEA is low or decreasing, all tissues are adversely affected. DHEA positively affects all tissues including the brain and immune system.

    A mother produces DHEA for herself and her fetus. Negative pregnancy outcomes may be demonstrated to be caused by low DHEA because of this sharing of DHEA in pregnant women. In your introductory paragraph you point out that “Mounting evidence suggests that ZIKV infection in pregnant women can cause congenital abnormalities as well as fetal demise…” I suggest infection of these women reduces overall DHEA which causes the foregoing consequences in pregnant women.

    I suggest the foregoing information should stimulate consideration of DHEA as a treatment against Zika viral infection, especially in pregnant women, young children, and the elderly, all of whom exhibit low DHEA. (Note: High DHEAS (sulfate) in individuals may indicate that DHEA, the active molecule is not being made from the precursor molecule, DHEAS. Therefore, high DHEAS or low DHEAS and low DHEA all could indicate that DHEA is low. “This study confirms that low serum DHEAS is associated with HIV illness markers, including viral load, and carries negative prognostic value.” J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1999 Oct 1;22(2):146-54.)

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