A 74-year-old Ralston woman has died after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus. It's the third death from the illness this year in Douglas County in what has been a record year for WNV cases.
30 people in Douglas County have been diagnosed with the illness, ten times more than last year.
According to her family Carol Hulsebus was healthy, until she was diagnosed with West Nile encephalitis, which impacts the brain.
"Super active grandma. Great grandmother. Athlete. Very active gardener. Active woman," Brandy Laughlin told 6 News.
"GG" as she was known, was a grandmother to 16 kids and a great-grandmother to three. She was active up until the day she was bit by a mosquito while watering her plants on the back deck in Ralston.
"It took our whole family by surprise," Laughlin told 6 News.
Hulsebus went to the hospital on Friday. By Sunday, her family said she was pretty much unresponsive and only communicating with blinks and toe wiggles. Laughlin and her family joined a support group. She learned that even someone in their 20's can be affected by the debilitating disease.
The family hopes people will be more cognizant of the dangers of West Nile. They encourage others to use insect repellent during any time spent outdoors.
Health officials say the mosquitoes are going to be around until the first freeze.
(Photo 6 News)