By Alex Fees
St. Louis (KSDK) - Rick Ebaugh, 62, of Cape Girardeau, is recovering from the West Nile Virus at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
On Friday, Ebaugh's wife, Debbie, said Rick is in good condition, and getting ready to be transported to a rehabilitation facility.
Ebaugh suffered from symptoms his family thought were related to a difficult recovery from surgery. Debbie said it wasn't until seizures prompted a ride in a medical helicopter to Barnes-Jewish Hospital that doctors diagnosed his likely illness as West Nile Virus.
"The first of August he had a grand mal seizure," said Debbie. "And he actually went into respiratory failure and the whole nine yards. And lost a lot of weight, maybe 15 to 20 pounds."
Dr. David Warren is an infectious disease specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Warren said the reality is that about 80 percent of people who are infected by West Nile Virus actually have no symptoms at all, and don't even realize they had it.
"About 20 percent have what's called West Nile Fever, where they get a fever, fatigue, headache; on rare occasions they can get a rash," said Warren. "Or they develop swollen lymph nodes, what people commonly call swollen glands. But about one in 150 get West Nile Encephalitis, where that's the more severe infections you hear about. Then can have meningitis, confusion, they may have seizures, convulsions. They may have problems with weakness and muscles."
Warren said those cases we generally hear about are West Nile Fever or West Nile Encephalitis.
"West Nile Encephalitis can be fatal," he said, "and in general people that have compromised immune systems and older individuals are more at risk of both getting encephalitis and dying from it."
St. Peters is a St. Louis area municipality that is regularly spraying for mosquitoes. On Friday a spray truck made the rounds at 370 Lakeside Park.
David Kuppler, St. Peters Health and Environmental Services Group Manager, said during the drought this summer, St. Peters officials got about two calls a month, requesting mosquito spray. Since Hurricane Isaac's rain bands showered the Midwest last week, they're getting four to five calls a day.
"We're moving into this phase as a health concern," said Kuppler, "so we're working with the schools, trying to hit those areas before the football games start. Also any areas where there are seniors because West Nile Virus impacts them.
St. Peters residents can request mosquito spraying for public events by calling the Citizen Action Center, at 636-477-6600.
Brentwood is another community with a regular mosquito spraying program.
"The City of Brentwood fogs every street in the city every Thursday from April thru September. The city has an agreement with Saint Louis County Vector Control who apply larvacide and adulticide throughout the same time period," said the Brentwood city administrator.