Okla. man calls West Nile virus a life changing disease

MCALESTER, OK - The Oklahoma State Department of Health said the number of West Nile cases across the state are leveling out but one West Nile victim from McAlester is warning people not to forget just how dangerous the virus can be.

Statistics show over the past week there have only been four new cases of the virus in Oklahoma, bringing the total number of cases to sixty-five so far in 2012.

78-year-old Hal Dalton of McAlester said he was the first confirmed case of West Nile virus in state.

Dalton said he until now he had always considered himself to be a very active 78-year-old.

"I went to bed that night and the next morning I woke up and I was blind," Dalton said.

Dalton didn't know it then but he was bitten by a mosquito infected with West Nile.

"They thought I had tick fever," Dalton said. "Pneumonia…everything."

"We went through a whole gamut before they finally decided what it really was," Dalton's wife Debbie said.

Dalton used to enjoy golf and gardening.

"It's changed our life," Dalton said. "We had a good life."

The state health department said active adults fifty and over have the highest risk of becoming infected with West Nile.

Doctors said Dalton will be lucky if he ever walks again but Dalton and his wife have a more positive outlook.

"She's a pusher," Dalton said of his wife. "I call her my drill sergeant."

Dalton said he came down with West Nile virus in June.

OSDH said their number one recommendation is wear mosquito repellant everyday now through the end of October.

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