CMU student diagnosed with West Nile

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT News)-- Two weeks ago Kaylee Russell, a CMU sophomore, was hanging out with friends, taking pictures by the Broadway Bridge in the Redlands area. Later she realized she had several mosquito bites.

"I didn't think it was a big deal I just thought they were mosquito bites,” says Russell.

A few days later she felt the symptoms, running an extremely high fever.

"My stomach hurt, I was really nauseous, my neck hurt. I just didn't feel good," says Russell.

She was treated at St. Mary's Hospital. Doctors had an initial impression that she was septic.

"An X-ray, I got a cat scan and they told me to get an MRI because they needed to see if I had any tumors. On that Thursday is when they finally figured out I had West Nile in my spinal fluid," says Russell.

St. Mary's could not confirm that it was West Nile Virus, and Mesa County Public Health hasn't received records confirming any diagnosis of West Nile yet.

"When someone tests positive for West Nile [they must take] a certain type of test called an IGM test. When that's positive, the labs are required to report that to their local public health agency and they have to do that within four days," says Heidi Dragoo with Mesa County Public Health.

Kaylee's personal physicians say she does have West Nile. There's no cure or over the counter prescription for the virus. Kaylee says she has to rest until she feels better:

"My doctor said that I need to miss the first three days of college which is really frustrating. And realizing that, I had to drop all of my NC classes".

Kaylee is now having to take online classes. Because of her late registration, she was not able to enroll in many of the credits that she needs. She says it could delay her graduation date. Though she is on the way to recovery, she says the initial uncertainty of her condition was frightening.

“You can’t deal with this on your own. You can’t get to the hospital, you can’t get to the doctors. It’s really overwhelming,” says Russell.

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