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Man Shares Bug Bite Warning After Becoming Paralyzed

By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people that diseases from bug bites are on the rise, and they want people to protect themselves.

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(credit: CBS)

In August of 2012, Curt Wolff was doing what most Coloradans do during the summer: enjoying the outdoors.

"We spent a lot of time with family out in Colorado here camping. We went hiking out to Hanging Lake. We went to Rocky Mountain National Park, stopped and had a few beers in a few beer gardens," he said.

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Curt Wolff (credit: CBS)

Shortly after his adventures, he started feeling sick.

"Maybe I got a few flu-like symptoms, no big deal. I'll be over it in a week," he said.

In a few days when he wasn't feeling better he checked himself into the hospital. That's when his heath quickly deteriorated.

"By the end of the night I ended up passing out, and for the next three weeks I was in intensive care, and I woke up paralyzed," Wolff said.

After testing, doctors determined Wolff had West Nile virus.

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(credit: CBS)

He thinks he got it from a mosquito bite. He says getting bug bites was something he usually just brushed off.

(credit: CBS)

"I'm like anyone else. I get mosquito bites from time to time and just kind of miss them," he said.

Because of that one bite Wolff's life changed.

"I went from an active 55 year old owning my own business to having a multi-million dollar hospital bill going through bankruptcy starting over. I spend 14 hours a day in a wheel chair."

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(credit: CBS)

Now he wants to make sure others don't make the same mistake he did.

"Just think twice about doing something and think of the ramifications including getting bit by mosquitos."

LINK: CO Department of Public Health & Environment West Nile Virus Data

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.


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