SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Maricopa County has experienced its fourth West Nile Virus death this year as a Scottsdale man went from sitting on his back porch to the emergency room in less than a week.
Donald Streets, 86, died on Friday, September 17, after contracting the West Nile Virus. His son suspects Streets contracted the virus while sitting outside at his home on Tuesday, August 31.
“He said, ‘Oh it’s beautiful outside you should go out on your deck,'” said Ramin Streets, Donald Street’s son, reading a text message his dad sent to him. “So I knew he was out there.”
That text was sent on a Tuesday, by Friday, Donald Streets was feeling ill. Not long after, he was being admitted to the emergency room.
“He was getting unsteady on his feet, his hands were shaking,” said his son. “This was a two-week crash and it was a surprise. The family is in shock, I’m in shock.”
Ramin Streets opted for doctors to test his dad for West Nile Virus, confirming the diagnosis just days before his death.
Donald Streets is the fourth person in Maricopa County to die of the West Nile Virus this year. So far, there have been 90 reported cases, a major jump from 2020, when there were only three cases and one death for the entire year.
According to the CDC, symptoms of the West Nile Virus range from fever and dizziness to loss of sight and paralysis. Symptoms can express anywhere from three to 14 days.
Ramin Streets hopes by sharing his dad’s story, he can prevent other elderly people, who are more susceptible to illness from the West Nile Virus, from contracting the virus.
“People who are roughly his age, I would say 70 plus, if we have summers this wet, I mean stay indoors, don’t risk this. You don’t want to go through what he went through,” said Ramin.