Douglas woman in critical condition with West Nile
Nevada Appeal News Service
Friends are rallying to help Megan Most, a single mother with three young daughters, who is being treated at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center for encephalitis, meningitis and pneumonia, according to friend Tina Alaniz.
The 34-year-old Douglas County woman is the second to contract a serious case of West Nile Virus in July.
Most was bitten by mosquitoes at an Indian Hills block party on the Fourth of July, and the problems started a week later when she started experiencing headaches and nausea, Alaniz said.
“She called me at 3 a.m. with a bad headache and fever,” she said. “I took her to the emergency room and they thought it was meningitis, but another doctor didn’t agree. They thought it was a viral infection related to her surgical incisions.”
Most, who recently had surgery, was referred by emergency room personnel to her surgeon, who prescribed antibiotics. Despite treatment the illness persisted, Alaniz said.
Most works at the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center as a certified nurse assistant and Alaniz became suspicious when her friend didn’t drop her children off before work, as expected.
Sabrina is 11, Samantha is 9 and Sienna, 6.
“I called the house, but she wasn’t making sense Monday morning,” Alaniz said.
Friends found Most in her apartment with a high fever. Her eyes were rolling back in her head, Alaniz said.
They took her to the emergency room, where a spinal tap was positive for meningitis and her temperature was 105 degrees. She was subsequently admitted to Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, where a test for West Nile proved positive, Alaniz said.
In addition to meningitis, Most contracted pneumonia and encephalitis, Alaniz said.
Most is being treated at the hospital’s intensive-care unit, where she is on a respirator. She could soon be moved to South Meadows in Reno for long-term rehabilitative care, Alaniz said.
“Doctors don’t know if she will be able to walk again, and they’re not sure about the prognosis,” Alaniz said. “The problems just keep hitting her.”
About one in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will develop severe illness and neurological effects may be permanent. The disease can be fatal, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The problems for this young mother started about two years ago with a divorce and an extensive series of treatments and surgeries for non-cancerous breast tumors, said her friend, Lori Lane.
“This child has been through more than Job. We need to rewrite the book,” Lane said. “But if anyone can just wake up from all this, it’s Megan.
“She is the brightest, most cheerful, precious woman,” Lane said. “She’s a friend to all of us. That’s why we’re rallying around her. I’ve told her many times how strong she is and how proud I am of her.”
As word has spread of the tragedy, friends have offered their support. Nurses at the hospital are contributing meals for the family and people from ‘All About Dance,’ where one daughter takes dancing lessons, have offered to help, Alaniz said.
“The Girl Scout troop and (Jacks Valley Elementary School) found out, and they want to help too,” she said. “The list is growing.”
Most just received a grant to go back to school to get a nursing degree. Instead, her friends are making plans to clear her Gardnerville apartment and move her things to a storage unit, said Alaniz, who has six children of her own.
“After the long-term care, she will probably go back to Southern California with her mom,” she said. “But we keep hoping. If there comes a time when she can come home, I have an extra room where she can stay.”
Megan Most was the second person diagnosed with West Nile Virus in Douglas County this year.
A milder form of the disease was reported last week in a person over 50 years old, according to Martha Framsted, spokeswoman for the Nevada Division of Health.
A total of eight cases of West Nile Virus were detected in Nevada’s 17 counties in July. In addition to one case in Douglas County, there were four in Humboldt County, two in Carson City and one in Washoe County.
Last year, only one case was reported in July.
“I can’t emphasize strongly enough, the need to take precautions against biting mosquitoes,” Framsted said.
You can help
What: Make a donation to the Megan Suzanne Most medical fund
Where: Any branch of Bank of America
• Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.