“I think about what I had”: New West Nile cases bringing back memories for Fresno woman

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There have been two confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Fresno County. 

Five other cases are suspected meaning people are showing symptoms but are waiting on testing. 

“Debilitating would be the best word,” said Yvonne Mattrocce who was infected with West Nile Virus 15 years ago. 

At the time, it was an anomaly. 

“In 2004, I was the first documented case in Fresno County, ever,” Mattrocce said. 

Her memory and motor skills were affected. She even had swelling of the brain. 

“When I was in the hospital, they would ask me every day my name, every day to count backwards from 100 and I couldn’t do that,” she explained. 

Now with the first two cases of the year in Fresno County… 

“I worry about them. I think about them. I think about what I had,” she said. 

“At this this time, we are at a normal reporting phase right now compared to last year” said Leticia Berber, Health Educator with County of Fresno Department of Public Health. 

Public Health says in 2018, Fresno County had 15 reported cases of West Nile and 14 cases the year prior. 

Rewind to 2004, Mattrocce was a real estate appraiser and tired all the time. 

“I just thought I was working too hard,” she explained. 

But then… 

“I started losing my train of thought. I started slurring my words and my husband was concerned about a rash that he saw on my chest like a bullseye.”

Public Health says the most distinctive indicator of West Nile is a rash plus the flu and body aches.

Mattrocce was in the hospital for 10 days. She got all her memory back after a year.

Now running a pet grooming place, her biggest word of advice… 

“My husband dragged me off to the doctor and if he didn’t, I might not be here to tell you the story today,” she said. 

The confirmed and suspected cases are in four Fresno County zip codes. Public Health adds that West Nile activity is very unpredictable. 

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April 29 2021 05:00 pm

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