BECKER, Minn. (KMSP) - A Minnesota man started feeling weak and was unable to sleep. Now, doctors aren't sure if he'll survive and it all started with a simple mosquito bite.
Randy Novak of Becker was a healthy 64-year-old man, then suddenly everything changed.
“He just started feeling really tired, the whole week he wasn't able to eat, sleep,” said Stephanie Novak, his daughter.
Randy Novak's condition worsened. He fell ill and was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with West Nile Virus.
“I'm still in shock, I can't believe this has happened,” said Stephanie Novak.
One tiny disease-carrying mosquito put Randy Novak in critical condition. Doctors are not sure if he'll survive and if he does his doctor says there could be a significant disability.
“It tears our heart apart. Oh, I just want my dad. I don't know if my dad is going to have his full brain function when he comes out of this, if he's going to be able to walk again, if he's going to be able to do anything,” said Stephanie Novak.
Since 2002, there have been 645 cases of West Nile in Minnesota with 19 fatalities. So far in 2016, there have been seven cases with no fatalities. Experts are asking people to protect themselves as August is the peak month for contracting West Nile Virus.
“The highest risk time for West Nile Virus is from mid-July to mid-September and almost always peaks in mid-August, so unfortunately we're right on schedule here,” said David Neitzel, an epidemiologist from the Minnesota Department of Health. “This is the time of year we expect to see West Nile Virus.
Usually the elderly or those with a compromised immune system are hit the hardest, but like in Randy's case, it can also severely impact the healthiest people. That's why Randy's daughter wanted to share her father's story.
“I don't want to see anyone else go through this. To watch a loved one sit there and suffer day after day after day is horrible,” she said. “And if there's anything I can do to help even one person, that's what I'm trying to do.”