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Glendale woman mourns husband who died from West Nile Virus

KTVK logo KTVK 9/27/2021
David Wollschlager passed away with West Nile virus last Tuesday. © (Source: Arizona's Family 3TV/CBS 5)

David Wollschlager passed away with West Nile virus last Tuesday.

GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Valley woman has a message after she lost her husband to West Nile just 11 days after he was diagnosed. Now, doctors are reporting an uptick in cases.

David Wollschlager passed away with West Nile virus last Tuesday. He was a father of three kids and a basketball coach in Glendale. His wife, Julie, doesn't want this happening to others.

It was September 10 when David Wollschlager stopped being able to walk and was rushed to Arrowhead Hospital by ambulance. "By the 11th, he was put on a ventilator in the ICU and he just slowly declined neurologically" Julie Wollschlager, David's wife, told Arizona's Family.

Julie says it was 11 days later that he died. "It's just more shocking, you know" she added.

As of September 23, Maricopa County has reported 138 cases of West Nile virus so far this year. Last year in total, the county reported only three. In terms of deaths, last year, the county only reported one death the entire year. This year, so far it's been seven. To view the data, click here.

So, why didn't we see as many West Nile cases last year? Last year's monsoon was drier, which means there weren't as many mosquitoes. Dr. Natasha Bhuyan is a family physician here in the Valley. She says that Sunday's rainfall is concerning.

"The activity goes up with mosquitos when we see rain because they tend to breed where there's standing water" said Dr. Bhuyan. "And so whenever we see rainfall, we see an increase in mosquito activity, mosquito bites, and so we might see more West Nile case because of this weather."

Because of this, here's what you should look out for.

"The symptoms of West Nile virus can overlap with some of the symptoms of COVID. Things like fever, body aches, fatigue, even headaches. The good thing about West Nile is that the majority of people who get infected, they don't get any symptoms" said Dr. Bhuyan.

For the Wollschlagers, those symptoms were life changing. "Like if somebody had cancer, I'm not minimizing it. You've got like months to prepare yourself, are they gonna make it? That type of thing. We literally had 11 days" said Julie.

Experts say that there isn't really much of a direct way to treat West Nile virus. The best way to protect yourself is to minimize standing water around your home and use bug repellent containing DEET when going outside.

Here's how to contact Maricopa County for assistance and more information:

Contact Us

Office of EpidemiologyEmail usPhysical Address4041 N Central AvenuePhoenix, AZ 85012Phone: 602-506-6900Fax: 602-372-8935Emergency: 602-506-6767

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