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Valley woman battling West Nile suffering long-term symptoms

Carla Bassham-Hall
Posted at 9:41 PM, Oct 06, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A Valley woman says her serious battle with West Nile virus has given her a new life perspective.

Carla Bassham-Hall, a Scottsdale resident, said she started feeling sick shortly after Labor Day, suffering from a fever, a headache, and loss of appetite.

"I’m never sick. Never ever sick," said Bassham-Hall, who ended up calling 911 to be admitted into the hospital. Days into her stay, she was told her diagnosis was positive for West Nile virus.

"I was like ‘oh my God what do I do?’ And they said, ‘There’s nothing you can do. Nothing.”

Bassham-Hall spent a total of six days at Honor Health Grayhawk hospital. She said West Nile virus is extremely personal to her after losing a friend to the virus years ago. Her friend was only 32 years old. 

"If I could I help one person, just understand, this is not a joke. It will make your life awful," said Bassham-Hall, who is still managing fatigue and headaches more than two weeks after being discharged from the hospital. "Today is the first time in like a month that I’ve actually felt like the Carla that everybody knows."

West Nile virus has increased sharply in 2021. In Maricopa County alone, there have been 206 cases and 12 deaths, with nearly 20 deaths statewide. The number of mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus (693) is more than the previous three years combined. 

People 60 and older are more likely to have serious symptoms from West Nile, and the best way to protect yourself is by wearing long sleeves and pants, using bug spray, and trying your best to get rid of all standing water in your backyard, which can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.