A second college student in the region was hospitalized with West Nile, defying assumptions that the virus strikes only the elderly or people whose bodies are weakened by chronic illness.
Amisha Kishore of Lathrop said her 20-year-old son was treated at Kaiser Modesto Medical Center for nine days. She said a spinal tap revealed that Shamit Kishore, a Delta College student, had the neuroinvasive form of West Nile.
The student was released from the hospital last week and continues to suffer from headaches and nausea while resting at home, said his mother. She was keeping a close watch on him.
“He went to the doctor today and it was too much for him,” Amisha Kishore said. “He sleeps and I wake him up and make him walk 100 steps.”
Never miss a local story.
Abbey Murphy, a Modesto High graduate and sophomore at UC Berkeley, was recently hospitalized at the Kaiser hospital in Modesto for an illness ultimately diagnosed as West Nile viral meningitis, her family said. Both of the students were healthy and athletic before struggling with the disease spread by mosquito bites, their parents said.
Shamit Kishore played varsity basketball at Lathrop High School before graduating in 2012. Citing patient confidentiality laws, a Kaiser corporate spokesman said he could not confirm whether the students were treated at the hospital.
Kishore said she believes her son was possibly bitten by an infected mosquito when he went fishing near the San Joaquin River levee, just west of their neighborhood in Lathrop. The home is in a subdivision south of Mossdale Landing Community Park and is two blocks from Mossdale Elementary School.
Early this month, Shamit Kishore came down with severe headaches and vomiting. At night, his face was numb and he suffered from high fevers and double vision, his mother said. He twice went to the emergency room at the Kaiser hospital in Manteca, and after the second visit, was admitted to the Modesto hospital on Dale Road on Aug. 5, she said.
Amisha Kishore said it took a few days before tests revealed what was causing the severe illness. He was given fluids and other supportive treatment until the fever came down and he was able to return home.
The West Nile virus can cause meningitis with swelling of the spinal cord and brain. The condition can be life-threatening and it often takes a few months for patients to fully recover.
The virus has resulted in 21 reported cases in Stanislaus County in 2014, the highest number in two year for a health risk that continues into October. Two of the 10 individuals with neuroinvasive illness died. San Joaquin County has had three cases.
Eddie Lucchesi, manager of the San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District, confirmed that the district had been informed about a West Nile case in the Lathrop neighborhood. Amisha Kishore said a man from the district brought a bug trap to their home Monday and someone retrieved it Tuesday. She said she hopes the district will determine if infected mosquitoes are in the area and alert residents who use the levee walkway.
Lucchesi said he should know Wednesday morning whether mosquitoes that carry the virus had been trapped at the home. He said the district tries to learn from the family if the person was bitten close to home.
“If we see we have infected mosquitoes in the area, we will spray to knock those mosquitoes down,” Lucchesi said.
In Stanislaus County, the East Side Mosquito Abatement District fogged the block near the Murphy home in east Modesto, General Manager Lloyd Douglass said. Some mosquitoes that were trapped there did not test positive for the virus, he said. The Turlock Mosquito Abatement District also has crews out spraying and collecting larvae.
The East Side district identified two dirty swimming pools in the Murphys’ neighborhood and treated the green water for mosquito larvae, Douglass said. The green pools are on Surrey Avenue, about a block from their home, said Chris Murphy, Abbey’s father.
Murphy said his daughter still sleeps most of the time and has headaches and abdominal pain. He said she won’t return to school for the fall semester at UC Berkeley, which begins next week.
Douglass said he had hoped the drought would mean fewer mosquitoes and a lighter West Nile caseload this year. But for some reason, “we have positive mosquitoes scattered all over the county,” he said. “The virus replicates more when it is hot. The cooler it is, the more it will help us out.”
Lucchesi said older adults with chronic health conditions are typically vulnerable to the illness, but it has stricken young people who have no pre-existing conditions. He recalled a brother and sister, 5 to 10 years old, who were sickened in 2005 in San Joaquin County.