Family of West Covina Woman Killed by West Nile Virus Speak Out After Infection Claims 6 Lives in California This Year

September 20, 2017

Just as Ventura County health officials warned of mosquitoes found infected with West Nile Virus on Wednesday, a family a county away in West Covina spoke out about the illness killing one of their own.

Julie Shepherd, 84, was a lively grandmother who loved aerobics and Tai Chi before she became infected with West Nile Virus, her daughter told KTLA. She was hospitalized for two weeks, never even realizing she was bitten by a virus-laden mosquito, before she died just two days ago.

“It was so heartbreaking that nobody should have to go through that,” her daughter, Suzi Howe, said.

West Nile Virus is an infection carried by mosquitos and birds that does not cause illness in most people infected. There is no vaccine to protect against it.

However, a small number of those infected will develop symptoms such as “fever, headache, rash, muscle weakness, and nausea and vomiting,” Los Angeles County health officials say, and some may even experience serious neurological symptoms such as “limb paralysis, tremors, and altered mental status.”

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