West Nile Survivors

by Kyle Essay from Sycamore Junior High


West Nile came to the US in 1999. Its first case was in New York. It has killed 560 people since then. West Nile is hard to detect because it's so much like the flu. As of November 13, 2003 there were 8219 people in the US that had been infected, 182 of those people died. Which is less than the 284 people who died in 2002. There are only 3 states in which West Nile has not been found. Those states are Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon.


Frank Boggs was 73 when he collapsed last August when his wife, Edith took him to the hospital. For the next couple months after that he was forced to lie in bed because he was paralyzed and on a respirator. In another story Jean Lemon, who also had West Nile, still has some after effects from West Nile Virus. She still has crippling bouts of fever. Her husband (who also had the virus) sometimes has to use oxygen because he has troubles breathing.

Rick Derksen was not as lucky. Rick Derksen was an umpire for a summer softball league, he had always been told to wear bug spray but he never did. Mr. Derksen went to the hospital last August, he had been sick and throwing up. Pretty soon he was paralyzed from the neck down, and he couldn’t talk because he had to breathe through a respirator. He later suffered brain damage which his family blamed on the hospital.

West Nile survivors are survivor heroes. When Rick Derksen was hospitalized with West Nile he didn’t just quit and die, he made a fight to live, even though he lost the fight to live he still went down swinging. Even though Jean Lemon still has problems with the virus she still goes on everyday, not giving into the pain. Frank Boggs, who had one heck of a time fighting the virus, survived after several months of treatment. The three people that are talked about in this project are only three out of almost 8000 people who have survived the West Nile Virus. 8000 people who, despite the terrible pain they went through, came out of the experience alive. Were the people discouraged at times, probably, but they still didn’t give in. And the 560 people who didn’t survive, I’m sure they fought the virus until the very end.

After learning about these three people i have found out about the courage it really takes to overcome a disease. They are all true survivor heros.

Page created on 10/13/2004 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/13/2004 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

West Nile virus leaves victims in misery - Associated Press article featured in The Detroit News