Central woman survives West Nile Virus

Robin Kennard survived neuroinvasive West Nile Virus.
Robin Kennard survived neuroinvasive West Nile Virus.

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - A Central woman is recovering from the West Nile Virus.  Robin Kennard pinpoints the mosquito bite in late July or early August. She has now managed to survive and is in her sixth week of recuperating.

"When Isaac came in as a storm, we had another type of storm within our own family," said Kennard.

The day hurricane Isaac hit, August 29th, Robin Kennard was hit with the symptoms associated with neuroinvasive West Nile Virus. That's the form of the virus that attacks the nervous system and is considered much worse.

"I came down with a really bad headache, which then developed into a rash within two days and what felt like the flu," said Kennard. "Within about two weeks, I started to have the paralysis symptoms."

Richard O'Quinn at Central Physical Therapy says that brief paralysis caused muscle and joint problems for Kennard that she is still fighting through, long after her five-day hospital stay.

"Her strength was decreased. She was really off balance. She was walking with a cane when she first came in, and now she's not," said O'Quinn.

O'Quinn takes Kennard through a series of demanding physical exercises each day all to improve her balance and diminished vision.

"She had a pretty severe case of it and so forth. It's a long process," said O'Quinn. "It's a long road, but she's done incredibly well. She's just an extremely hard worker."

Kennard understands full recover won't happen overnight. She says she just takes things one day at a time.

"I'm really thankful to wake up in the morning, and that God's given me another happy day to live and to be able to tell my story and hopefully help others," said O'Quinn.

Kennard was so unfamiliar with the virus that she dismissed the symptoms being too much yoga or too much yard work. She now encourages everyone to educate themselves about the West Nile Virus.

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