West Nile virus cases in Cherokee, DeKalb counties; Survivor war - CBS46 News

West Nile virus cases in Cherokee, DeKalb counties; Survivor warns of lasting effects

Posted: Updated:
(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

CBS46 is uncovering a disturbing trend: West Nile virus is on the rise in Georgia. We went straight to the Georgia Department of Public Health for the facts. They shared the official numbers with CBS46.

So far this in 2016, three people have been infected with the virus. They live in Cherokee, DeKalb and Dougherty counties. Mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found in at least four different parts of the state from metro Atlanta, to southwest Georgia, to the coast.

Peak season for the West Nile virus is usually in August, so activity is earlier than usual this year. Georgia typically sees between 6-10 human cases of West Nile annually.

A College Park man knows all too well how the bite of an infected mosquito can be life-changing. He nearly died from West Nile virus two summers ago.

“Never been sick a day in my life. Never had anything wrong with me,” explained Terrell Ivy.

He now lives in constant pain. It all started at his job in DeKalb County when he started feeling sick.

“I went home. I stopped at the drug store and just bought every cold and flu medicine I could find,” Ivy recalled.

Despite the medicine, Ivy ended up in the emergency room.  

“The doctor came in she said, ‘Hey, obviously something is wrong with you,’” Ivy remembered.

Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Ivy and sent him home.

“I started vomiting uncontrollably. I got real weak… something just told me, hey you are not about to make it, you need to call 911,” Ivy explained.

Ivy was in the hospital for three weeks. A spinal tap finally revealed what was making him so sick. Ivy had Georgia’s first human case of West Nile that year.  

“They said, ‘OK. More than likely you are going to be in a wheelchair forever,’ and that is when it hit me…I just broke down crying. I can’t do this. I can’t be in a wheelchair the rest of my life,” Ivy cried.

Ivy has defied the doctors’ prediction and can now walk again using a cane or walker, but his life still isn't the same. He can't work anymore and rarely goes outside.

“I was told it is only going to get worse from here,” Ivy stated.

Ivy wanted to share his story as a warning to others, especially since other people are being infected with West Nile virus this summer. Ivy contends a simple spray of repellent can save your life or spare you a lot of pain.

If you would like to learn more about Ivy and how you can help him, go to https://www.gofundme.com/helpterrellivy.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

Connect with CBS46