Stoddard County man battles back from West Nile Virus - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Stoddard County man battles back from West Nile Virus

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Johnnie and Patricia Smith with their great-granddaughter (Source: Mike Mohundro). Johnnie and Patricia Smith with their great-granddaughter (Source: Mike Mohundro).
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BLOOMFIELD, MO (KFVS) -

A Bloomfield man is counting his blessings after being diagnosed with West Nile Virus.

Johnnie Smith, 79, of Bloomfield became ill in mid July.

Patricia, his wife of 59 years, started seeing him having trouble with his memory and being weak.

So Johnnie went to the doctor and they prescribed an antibiotic thinking it was a flu like sickness. He took the medicine and continued to get worse.

"You get down to a certain point where you just don't … doesn't mean anything to you," said Johnnie. "Your mind is just like its blank. That's the way I was. And I didn't care if I lived or died."

On July 15 they took Johnnie to Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau. He was there a month.

Johnnie says that the hospital did a spinal tap and he was then diagnosed with the West Nile Virus. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services confirms his diagnosis.

The worst part was his memory was fading to the point that there was nearly nothing left.

Johnnie remembered his wife and that's about it. He experienced lots of weakness and fatigue as well and ran a temperature up to 103 degrees.

"It was a hard time," said Johnnie's wife Patricia. "Watching him not knowing children and not even know what our house looked like. You can't imagine until you've been there."

When the fluid was examined, it was confirmed that Johnnie had encephalitis, and that encephalitis stemmed from the West Nile virus in his system.

Johnnie has since been home after the stay at the hospital. The treatment he has been given has made his body rebound almost to the point it was before.

He says he did not want to die because he has two special girls, his wife and great-granddaughter, who mean the world to him. They were the reason he found the strength to pull through this.

Johnnie never goes anywhere except for outside of his home to work on his yard. They believe that is where he was bit by a mosquito.

"He has always been attracted to ticks and mosquitoes," Patricia said.

Johnnie is enjoying life right now with his family and is grateful from the support of his family and the community.

He also wants this to be a lesson to those that may have this disease or symptoms like it to get it checked out and believe in knowing that you have the strength to pull through and survive.

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