Janesville man says first human West Nile Virus case of the year is two months too late
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A man in Janesville is questioning the Wisconsin Department of Health Services report of the first West Nile Virus case in a person of the year, saying he had the disease back in July.
“There’s not a case in Wisconsin; what was mine?” said Rodney Kersten.
He says he was watching NBC15 when he saw the report. According to DHS Monday, the first case found in a person this year was a West Nile Virus case in Sheboygan County. But Kersten says he tested positive for the virus in July after several days in the hospital.
“I was in the chair here, I came out of the garden, I took a nap, I got up, I staggered,” said Kersten. “Diane said, ‘you ok?’ and I said ‘blah blah blah,’ and she said you’re slurring your words big time; we need to go to the emergency room.”
From July 17th to the 25th, Kersten says he was in the Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville after his wife, Diane Kersten, rushed him there. He says for four days; he was in the ICU and in and out of conciseness as doctors tried a series of tests, including COVID-19 and Lyme disease testing.
“It’s a little scary after three-four days; they have no idea what you’ve got,” said Kersten.
Finally, they tested him for West Nile Virus. According to his online records, he returned positive with IgG Antibodies and negative for IgM Antibodies.
According to the CDC website, the IgG Antibodies become present after the IgM Antibodies but can be found in test results days after the presence of the virus or years after. The site says, “The presence of IgG antibodies alone is only evidence of previous infection and clinically compatible cases with the presence of IgG, but not IgM, should be evaluated for other etiologic agents.”
A DHS spokesperson says it is possible someone can be diagnosed with West Nile Virus and not be counted as a case for Public Health Surveillance Data. The spokesperson added the patient must meet “A specific set of laboratory and clinical criteria.”
Kersten’s own records say if a recent infection is suspected, another specimen should be submitted within 7-14 days following a negative result for IgM Antibodies. Kersten says no one followed up with his case after he left the hospital.
“How does my case not get reported?” said Kersten.
The NBC15 newsroom reached out to Mercyhealth for this story, but they did not have someone available for comment Tuesday.
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