MODESTO, Calif. - Nineteen-year-old Abbey Murphy should be making last-minute arrangements for her sophomore year at UC Berkeley. Instead, she's sleeping up to 18 hours a day at her parents home in Modesto while recovering from a near fatal bout with West Nile virus.
"I thought it was something you get when you go out camping or had 15 bites. I didn't think it was something you get from hanging out," Abbey said.
Doctors first suspected she had meningitis when she suffered from headaches and repeated vomiting. Eventually they realized it was West Nile virus, although it isn't clear to Abbey or her family when she was bitten by a mosquito infection with the virus.
"It could have come from a number of places. She doesn't remember an incident.. It's disturbingly random," said Abbey's father Chris Murphy, who is now active on Facebook with West Nile virus warnings and tips.
Two people have died in Stanislaus County this year from West Nile virus, and 14 others have suffered varying degrees of symptoms. Murphy stressed the best warning signs: "The combination of rash, headache and nausea, separated it from normal flu, and a lot of people blow it off.".