West Nile hits home for mom
October 21, 2004
Filed under News
Soccer mom Brandy Tackett, who was the second confirmed West Nile virus case in Bakersfield, said she is still not feeling well.
“It is in my system, and there is no cure. I still have the headaches and backaches, which are associated with the virus,” said Tackett, who was diagnosed at the end of August.
Tackett was bitten by mosquitoes three months ago when she lived in Arvin. She moved to Bakersfield with her family since then.
At the time, Tackett had several mosquito bites and thought nothing of them because she lived in Arvin. Tackett developed a fever, which lasted for three days, and then she got a rash. Thinking that the rash was related to the fever, she didn’t have the symptoms checked by a doctor.
The rash was still apparent even when the fever wasn’t, and that is when Tackett went to visit her doctor.
The doctor ran a few tests, and Tackett found out she had Valley Fever. She was sent home feeling poorly and begin to hear the news about Don Clark having West Nile.
Clark was a former television newscaster and was the first confirmed case in Kern County. Tackett went back to her doctor and told her that she wanted to be tested for West Nile.
“I am sure that is what I had because I live close to Don Clark,” she said.
The doctor did order the test, and Tackett was right. She had the West Nile virus.
The virus hit her hard, but she wasn’t sure if it was because she had Valley Fever along with West Nile. Although, she still doesn’t have full strength, she said vitamin B12 shots, prescribed by doctors, are helping.
With two kids — Madalynn, 8 and Jordyn, 6 – playing soccer, and 2-year-old James, Tackett said she needs her energy to get to the games and to be herself.
Tackett has been sick for several months and is not as worried about the virus but is more in shock about getting Valley Fever.
Her main concern is that she still has little energy and doesn’t feel well.
Dr. Boyce Dulan, deputy health officer for Kern County Department of Health and director of disease control, said having the right protection is the key to avoiding West Nile.
Dulan said if you are going to be in a place where mosquitoes are, you should wear clothes that protect you from getting bit. You should wear insect repellent as well.
He did say the virus is “not a public health emergency.”
Dulan said people should visit their doctors if they have been bitten by mosquitoes and develop fever, rash and the flu. The percentage of cases is small but Dulan said they could be serious. “Anything that compromises their immune system increases their risks to come down with the virus,” Dulan said.
The virus came to the West Coast from the East Coast in 1999. It is here to stay, according to epidemiologist Emma Chaput.
She said people can react differently to the virus but about 80 percent of people exposed to West Nile have no symptoms.
“West Nile is not as large as a public health threat as other chronic and infectious diseases that we already have here,” Chaput said.
The confirmed cases in Kern County have many differences between to them. The people range from 18 to 82, and there are 24 females and 17 males with some sharing the same occupation, according to information released by Kern County Department of Public Health.