Saturday, August 11, 2012

Teen victim of West Nile Virus - FOX 4 News

While the City of Dallas ramps up its prevention efforts, mosquitoes continue biting blindly. Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin counties have more than 440 confirmed cases of the virus, but one particular case stands out.

Jordan Conner is a healthy, active fourteen year old who's been forced to spend the last month of her summer inside.

"It's either my thighs or my calf muscles that cramp up really bad and they hurt, so my mom or my brother help me go to the restroom, or my bedroom, things like that," says Conner.

Two weeks ago, the incoming Arlington Lamar sophomore could barely move, paralyzed from Meningoencephalitis. Only one in 150 West Nile patients will get the brain infection, but this young tennis player did, after sitting outside on her patio for just ten minutes.

"We were just sitting out there playing with the dog and I got a whole bunch of mosquito bites... and I was like, 'I don't like mosquitoes,' so I came in."

Days later, what she thought was a summer cold turned into double vision, headaches and paralysis.

She was able to tell me, 'Mommy, something's wrong' because there were no red flags to this or 'oh, she has West Nile light bulb.'" says Jordan's mother, Ebonie.

Jordan had no prior health problems, and had only heard of West Nile twice. Within days, her independence was stripped away.

"If I wanted to sleep, or I woke up in the middle of the night to rotate, I'd have to have my mom or nurse help me because my lower back would hurt my whole body," says Jordan.

It's been equally as hard on her mother and brother, Max.

"You feel like you've failed as a mom," says the elder Conner.

Ebonie is a self-employed single mom with no insurance. They've been relying on prayers, hope and a few donations to keep Jordan alive.

Ebony says, "We had a deal... I needed her to stay alive, to stay alert and to stay active."

Both sides lived up to that deal, and eight days after being admitted to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Jordan was released to go home and continue fighting the virus.

"Failure is not an option for them, death is not an option for them. Those kids are the beat of my heart," says Ebonie Conner.

Jordan is not on medication, but through physical therapy, doctors think she'll make a full recovery and regain the use of her legs. A fund has been set up at Woodhaven National Bank under the name Ebonie Conner to help pay for medical expenses.

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