KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - Health officials are bracing for possibly the worst outbreak of the West Nile Virus in 10 years. Thirty-nine cases have been reported in Arkansas and Missouri, with the death toll standing at 6.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for West Nile. Only one percent of West Nile victims experience the most severe symptoms, and of that one percent, only 10 percent survive, but a Kennett man is beating those odds.
Bill Tripp began suffering from confusion, high fever and fatigue September 1.
"He just started doing some strange things that was just out of the ordinary for him. I kept trying to let me take him to the emergency room."
He was reluctant to leave home and his two beloved dogs--McGuyver and Amy Gail. As Bill's condition worsened, his wife Donna made the call to get him to Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center.
"We were there from Sunday to Tuesday morning."
Bill then slipped into a coma and the decision was made to transport him to Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. From there, doctors ran several blood and spinal fluid tests, and took cultures to determine the illness.
"They did X-rays, MRI's CAT scans. The only culture that came up positive was West Nile. After 72 hours. "
Bill miraculously woke from the coma nearly a week later and is now undergoing physical therapy. Doctors are unsure when he'll fully recover.
Donna says the support from family and the community has been overwhelming.
"We've got Facebook friends from all over the United States and they've let me know that they're churches are praying for him."
Donna and her daughter Shannon wait patiently for Bill's recovery and urge anyone showing symptoms of West Nile to go to the doctor and get tested immediately.
"It's more likely in young children and elderly people."