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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)