Arkansas Man Diagnosed With West Nile Virus Fighting For His Life

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (WREG) — A Helena-West Helena man is fighting for his life all because of a virus he contracted from an insect.

Jennifer Bridges can't hold back tears as she thinks about how one insect bite changed her husband's life.

"One little mosquito bite can put you here," she said. "He's too strong. He's got four kids. He's got too many reasons to let this stop him."

Curtis Bridges found out he has West Nile virus less than three weeks ago.

"He was sick. We thought it was like the flu or something. He had fever chills," Jennifer said.

She says he was even misdiagnosed in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. Doctors thought it may be a urinary tract infection.

He went to the hospital five different times. Doctors kept getting it wrong until it became obvious there was a real problem.

Jennifer says her husband become completely unresponsive on October 29th. He was airlifted to Little Rock, Arkansas where they ran tests for three days before finding out he had a severe case of West Nile.

Doctors told Jennifer it was rare to see a case this bad.

"We were told he might not make it. He could be a vegetable for rest of his life and it could all come from a mosquito," she said.

Since Saturday, Curtis hasn't been able to breathe on his own and has tubes running from every direction on his body.

"He's 34-years-old. He was a strong man, and he's lost almost 40 pounds from laying here," Jennifer said.

The Centers for Disease Control says about 80 percent of people who are infected with West Nile virus do not feel sick.

The common symptoms are fever, headache, vomiting, and a rash.

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