HOUSTON - A Houston man is getting treatment at a local hospital after he says he tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
"I never knew I had the virus," said Tommy Gerow. "[It’s been] bad. Really bad."
Gerow has lost the ability to move his legs and left arm. The 60-year-old spoke with us from his hospital bed Friday, with help from his brother, David.
"He went from independent, able to work, to in a bed and can’t move his legs," said David Gerow. "He can only move his right arm a little bit."
So far in 2021, the Houston Health Department hasn’t officially reported any confirmed cases of West Nile. However, officials say there are sometimes delays or issues in the confirmation process.
"I’m not sure why it hasn’t been reported," said David. "At least [at this hospital], they’re treating him as a West Nile patient. They felt like the exposure triggered the cascading of events that caused him to be where he is today."
Gerow says he hasn’t traveled and was likely bit by a mosquito outside his Houston home. He adds the bite didn't feel like anything unusual.
His symptoms started with mild headaches, nausea, and neck stiffness. Then escalated.
"It wasn’t until a month-and-a-half later, after I collapsed, that I was diagnosed," said Tommy.
So far, 250 mosquito pool samples have come back positive for West Nile Virus in Harris County this year.
The 60-year-old is now getting plasma replacement therapy in hopes of regaining his ability to walk.