MCH: Contracting Severe West Nile Virus Infection is Rare 8/31/12
CBS 7 News
August 31, 2012
ODESSA, TX - A third person in West Texas is dead after contracting West Nile Virus.
The first reported death was in Andrews County last week, the second was in Midland County earlier this week, and the most recent death was reported at Medical Center Hospital.
MCH Infection Control Coordinator, Rebecca Johnson, says the virus attacks the body diminishing organ function.
"The usual cause of death that is reported in scientific journals is multi-system organ failure."
The hospital has treated eight patients and says while their ages range from 20's to 80's, their one fatality was an elderly patient, which is in line with national statistics.
Johnson explains getting the virus is rare and contracting a serious infection is even less likely.
"About one in 150 infected persons will actually develop what's called neuroinvasive disease and that's your most severe form."
Johnson reminds you to remember the four D's of protection:
Drain all standing water around your property.
Use insect repellent with DEET.
At dawn and dusk stay inside and be sure to dress in long sleeves and pants when you're outside.
"For most people this is a mild infection if they have any symptoms at all."
Those symptoms she says feel like the general flu.
Johnson also tells us that once you're infected with the virus, patients will have lifetime immunity to West Nile Virus, so for many people who've already contracted it without knowing, they're also already immune.
MCH also tells us they are not currently treating any patients with West Nile Virus.