Mother opens up about her daughter’s West Nile virus death
The woman is the mother of Dancia Jackson, who was 23 and living in St. Michael, North Dakota, when she died from West Nile virus. The virus had caused a neurological infection, and Dancia passed away on Aug. 19, 2015.
“Before I knew my daughter had West Nile virus, it was not something that I thought about,” Darcie Delorme, Dancia’s mother, said. “I did not take it seriously and now I want everyone to know that West Nile virus can affect anyone. She became very ill very quickly. Dancia was only 23 years old. I never thought something like this could happen to someone like her.”
Darcie requested that the NDDoH release information about her daughter and case in order to increase awareness; typically health departments don’t released any information that could help people to identify the victim, according to federal privacy laws.
“Generally, people older than 50 are at the greatest risk of developing severe illness due to West Nile virus infection,” Laura Cronquist, epidemiologist with the NDDoH, said. “However, the death of this young woman is a tragic reminder of how serious West Nile virus can be regardless of age. Even though we are near the point in the season where mosquitoes will be gone for the year, they will be active until a hard freeze. While they are biting, they are capable of spreading the virus. Even this late in the season, North Dakotans should continue to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”