Young West Nile Survivor Recovering After Severe Illness - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Complete coverage of the West Nile virus in North Texas

Young West Nile Survivor Recovering After Severe Illness

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Young West Nile Survivor Recovering After Severe Illness

    The family of a young West Nile virus survivor is sharing their story in hopes of making sure this never happens to anyone else. (Published Monday, June 1, 2015)

    The family of a young West Nile virus survivor is sharing their story in hopes of making sure this never happens to anyone else.

    Brycen Garnett was just learning to walk when the bite of a single mosquito left him paralyzed for months.

    "[It] started out as a mild fever, wasn't too suspicious of it because of teething," Steven Garnett said about his son, who was then almost 1 year old. "Days rolled on, [he was] eating less, drinking less, more tired, not moving as much."

    After a doctor's visit, things appeared fine. Brycen's fever was going down.

    1-Year-Old Fights West Nile Virus

    [DFW] 1-Year-Old Fights West Nile Virus
    Brycen Garnett's parents say their son went from being an active, energetic baby taking his first steps to needing physical therapy daily after contracting the most severe form of West Nile virus.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013)

    But on the drive back home, he began having seizures. Garnett said the convulsions were "real jerky." It was very scary, especially while driving because they didn't know where to pull over, he said.

    "He called me and said, '911, get up here now,' and so I drove as quick as I could," said his wife, Jame Garnett.

    Brycen was taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.

    It took five days to diagnose him with the neuroinvasive form of West Nile virus — the most severe.

    The hospital said the boy was one of the youngest West Nile virus patients it has ever treated.

    After more than two weeks in the hospital, Brycen came home. But the little boy who walked at nine months could barely move.

    1-Year-Old Baby Battles West Nile Virus

    [DFW] 1-Year-Old Baby Battles West Nile Virus
    Brycen Garnett's parents say their son went from being an active, energetic baby taking his first steps to needing physical therapy daily after contracting the most severe form of West Nile virus.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013)

    "Lucky" the dog was his home therapy. Brycen also went to physical and speech therapy six days a week.

    "It took about three or four months to get him where he was able to turn his head and hold it up," Garnett said. "Brycen would look to find Lucky."

    Then, last June, finally a breakthrough. Brycen started moving his hands and walking.

    "It was just an unbelievable moment," Garnett said.

    Even today, West Nile seems to have a grip on Brycen, who wears a cast after surgery to lengthen his Achilles tendon.

    Doctors don't know if this will be the last side effect, but his parents are hopeful.

    "I am amazed, happy, thankful," Jame Garnett said. "If I could help just one person not get West Nile."

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said you should drain any free-standing water on your property and use mosquito dunks.

    Dr. Justin Smith at Cook Children's Medical Center said bug sprays with DEET are considered safe for children older than 2 months. Smith recommends using products containing no less than 10 percent DEET and no more than 30 percent.

    As for symptoms, Smith said if you notice any change in behavior, loss of appetite, headaches, fever or irritability in your child, see a doctor immediately.

    Get the latest from NBC DFW anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android