Human Case of West Nile Virus

By: Jessica Aspiras
By: Jessica Aspiras

"Stan Hartman is one of the most extraordinary people I've ever known. He was a flying tiger. He fought in WWII. He flew cargo planes over the hump of China with troops."

But now 85-year-old Stan Hartman is fighting for his life.

"Just to even touch his neck, he'd grimace in pain even though he was unconscious the whole time. He was pretty much unconscious for two straight weeks."

Steve Curran is one of Hartman's six children. He says four weeks ago his father was hospitalized at Ingham Regional Medical Center.

"He had a temperature of 103. He was pretty sick. He went to the doctor and they thought he had a virus."

While IRMC won't confirm a case of West Nile Virus at the hospital, Curran says his father's already been diagnosed.

"We didn't find out until Thursday."

"We know that we've had birds to test positive and mosquito pools to test positive. And we've also had our first human case."

Natasha Davidson of the Ingham County Health Department says she too cannot give away any specifics on the case. But she does say there is a month left in the West Nile Virus season, a season that's affected at least 24 people in Michigan according to the CDC. West Nile is an illness spread through the bite of an infected mosquito; still, just twenty percent become sick.

"If you're out in an area where mosquitoes are biting, wear the mosquito repellant, wear the long sleeves, wear the long pants and cover the exposed skin as much as possible."

As for Curran, he's taking the advice to heart now that the illness has hit close to home. And he's hoping his father wins the fight.

"All he remembers is that he's gone on an incredible journey that he can't wait to tell me mother about. So we're all excited. We're hoping he'll share some of those things over Thanksgiving turkey."


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