Sneedville family learns toddler has West Nile after being ill with other viruses

SNEEDVILLE (WATE) – A Sneedville mom says she is shocked after finding out her 2-year-old daughter has the West Nile virus.

Amber Johnson took her daughter to the doctor after the toddler suffered from flu-like symptoms that wouldn’t go away. Johnson was initially told the Maddison’s blood work was fine and the toddler had a couple of flu-like viruses.

The toddler’s blood work was sent to the Hawkins County Health Department where it was determined the toddler had contracted the West Nile virus.

Without having the other illnesses and being taken to the doctor, the Johnsons may not have known Maddison had West Nile.

More online: West Nile Virus (State of Tennessee)

Records from the health department show it wasn’t an active form of the virus but a past infection. A past infection means there aren’t active infection antibodies, but antibodies that indicate Maddison contracted the virus sometime sometime in the past.

“I was scared, I was terrified,” said Johnson. “I didn’t know what to do.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 70 to 80 percent of people who become infected with West Nile won’t show any symptoms, which may explain why the Johnsons were unaware Maddison had the virus.

“They said her case was very mild,” said Johnson. “They didn’t see it spreading to anything else so that was reassuring.”

Johnson says her daughters always wear bug spray but from now on they will take an extra precaution.

“She’ll be sprayed with much more better bug spray for one thing and you know, not outside during the peak hours that they are out and stuff,” said Johnson.

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