Former North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s encephalitis was caused by a virus spread by ticks to humans, doctors and her family said.
Hagan’s family said it knows the recovery process is long, but they are optimistic about the progress she has made, the News & Observer in Raleigh reported.
Hagan has been at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, which specializes in brain and spinal cord injuries, for several weeks. She was initially hospitalized in December in Washington D.C.
Her family and friends are hopeful she will make a full recovery.
“The last I heard, she was alert and awake. She’s a very special lady and has always been a fighter,” former N.C. Lieutenant Gov. Walter Dalton said.
Dalton, who served in the North Carolina Senate with Hagan, told the newspaper that he has known two people who contracted the disease. One made a full recovery, he said, while the other required ongoing medical care.
“The spectrum varies greatly… (Hagan) has been in our prayers constantly,” he said.
Hagan lost her re-election race to Sen. Thom Tillis in 2014 but was hired as an adviser to Akin Gump focusing on health care and banking.