LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Louisville man's legs were paralyzed and his heart stopped four years ago, all because of a mosquito bite.
Gary Jamison is sharing his near-death experience with West Nile Virus after learning another person in Louisville got the virus, but died.
“It's been a nightmare and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone,” Jamison said as he gripped his wooden walking cane.
Step by step, he uses the cane to help with his balance.
“I feel so very happy just to be able to do this. Simple little thing like walking that you take for granted, nobody thinks about it,” he said.
Four years ago, on Oct. 10, 2015 Jamison was bit by a mosquito and got West Nile Virus. He was in his early 60s, had just retired and bought a motorcycle.
“It makes you realize how in the blink of an eye, your life can change forever,” he said.
Jamison went from enjoying life to fighting for his own.
“When (West Nile) got me, it settled in my lower spine and paralyzed my legs. That night at St. Mary's hospital my heart stopped,” he said.
Jamison had died, but was revived by doctors.
“All this from a mosquito bite?” he asked his doctor when he first got the diagnosis.
Because of his own questions at the time, he now focuses on raising awareness of the virus. He says most people know about it, but not what it's capable of. For him -- he's been through years of physical therapy to go from a wheelchair, to a walker and now a cane. West Nile can also be deadly.
“If you want to take your children out in the evening, when (mosquitos) are active, you got to spray them down with bug repellent with deet. Why take the chance on losing your child,” Jamison said. “I was brought back for a reason and my reason now and the rest of my life is to get the word out about the West Nile."
According to the CDC, in all of last year there were 2,647 cases of people getting West Nile Virus in the US.
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