Councilwoman returns after month-long hospital stay


Staff writer

Federal Way City Councilwoman Mary Gates went home last Tuesday after spending more than a month in the hospital recovering from viral encephalitis.

Gates went to St. Joseph’s on June 4 after she began running a high fever and experiencing flu-like symptoms. Her condition quickly deteriorated and she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

She left intensive care June 20, but remained in the hospital for continued monitoring and rehabilitative care that included “a strict regimen of exercises that continue throughout the day,” according to an update released by Patrick Briggs, executive assistant to the city manager.

Doctors don’t know where Gates contracted encephalitis.

The disease frequently is transmitted through mosquitos, which carry the virus from animals and transmit it to humans.

Symptoms of viral encephalitis can include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and lethargy. The majority of encephalitis patients recover from the virus, but some people die from complications arising from brain swelling.

Bill Gates told city staff Gates is making “tremendous progress” and appreciates wellwishers’ support. Other than some general weakness following her illness, Gates is not suffering from any lasting effects from viral encephalitis, assistant city manager Derek Matheson said.

Though she returned home, she probably won’t return to work until later in the summer, possibly September, Matheson said.

Not only is Gates a Federal Way City Councilwoman, she sits on Sound Transit’s board of directors, she represents Federal Way to the Association of Washington Cities and she sits on the National League of Cities’ finance committee.

Bill is asking anyone interested in visiting to call 1-888-342-1886 first. They asked that people not drop in unannounced.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and

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