FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Former state lawmaker Ken Summers is in critical condition after being struck by West Nile virus.

Summers, former state House representative from Lakewood last year, is fighting for his life. Friends and fellow politicians are amazed one of the smallest of creatures left him in critical condition.

“I saw him one day take off down the street and we were at a seminar one day running, and I like, ‘Holy cow that guy is built, he’s strong as an ox and he gets felled by a mosquito,’ “ said state Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray.

Concern over the spread of West Nile virus is growing. Longmont is now spraying to kill mosquitoes and so is Boulder County — the first time there in 5 years. West Nile has also been found in Larimer County where Summers now lives in Fort Collins.

“Much affection and regard for him, of course a sense of shock and concern at the bad turn his condition has taken,” said John Andrews, former state Senate President.

On the CaringBridge website the Summers family said he began running a fever July 17 and days later he was hospitalized, calling out in pain and able to speak only a few words a day. Doctors explained he has encephalitis as a result of the West Nile virus.

“We can pray for Ken. I believe in the power of prayer,” Brophy said.

His condition means people may want to limit their time outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active, or at least use mosquito repellant.

“We’re an outdoorsy state, everybody goes outdoors all of the time and I don’t like putting that chemical stuff on me. I’d rather swat the mosquitos, but now you have to take that more seriously,” Brophy said.

A new entry on the CaringBridge website says Summers will need intense therapy and that he continues to have weakness and stiffness because he’s bedridden.

LINK: CaringBridge Ken Summers


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