1st West Nile death reported in Houston

Published On: Aug 03 2012 04:41:39 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 03 2012 04:23:06 AM CDT

Aug. 3, 2012: A Houston man diagnosed with West Nile virus has died, health officials say. His death is the ninth related to West Nile virus in the state. Irika Sargent reports.

HOUSTON -

The city of Houston Health Department said for the first time this year, West Nile virus has taken the life of a resident.

Officials said an elderly man died in Southwest Houston. It has some residents worried they may be next.

"When we hear you know somebody dying or somebody getting very sick, it like, it clicks," said a Houston resident named Veronica. "Oh my gosh I have to be more prepared."

"It's always a concern like everything else you worry about with your kids," said Kevin Forrest, a Houston resident.

Dr. Eric McLaughlin with Elite Care 24 Hour Emergency said it's actually the elderly and those with weaker immune systems that have a hard time surviving the virus. But he said everyone should take West Nile symptoms seriously.

"Anyone with severe headache, stiff neck, any change in mental status or alteration in vision should see a doctor right away," said Dr. McLaughlin.

He also said avoiding mosquitoes is the best strategy, by arming yourself with bug spray and getting rid of all standing water.

It has been hard for Susan Steward. She said the abandoned house next to her own in Atascocita had a pool filled with old water and mosquitoes. "My biggest concern is the West Nile," said Steward.

Tests conducted by Harris County Mosquito Control showed West Nile has been detected in mosquitoes in Steward's zip code.

In the last two weeks, mosquito control added an extra day of mosquito spraying in several parts of Harris County. But it hasn't added extra treatments for Southwest Houston, where the man died from the virus. Officials with mosquito control said they will contact the Houston Health Department to get more information about the West Nile death. Then, mosquito control will decide whether additional spraying is needed in Southwest Houston.

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