Never Be Too Careful In Protecting From West Nile - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Never Be Too Careful In Protecting From West Nile

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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Summertime is one of the most active seasons for mosquitoes that could potentially carry the West Nile virus. Experts don't predict a dangerous season in the Mid-South, but you can never be too careful.

MORE: Tennessee Gets First Case Of New Mosquito-Borne Virus

Many of us will be outside during the summer and then there are those that work outside. No matter who you are, experts say protect yourself from mosquitoes because one bite could be life-threatening.

MORE: CDC.gov West Nile symptoms

It was supposed to be just another cookout for Maurine Hall and her husband Lauton. They were outside when Lauton was bitten several times by a mosquito, but they thought nothing of it. Then three weeks later, he was in the hospital.

"This was particularly personal, I knew them and he was a fine man and it was just devastating, there was so much damage done it was a very difficult situation," said Hall’s physician, Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis.

He had been bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus and at 74 years old, it hit him hard. He developed pneumonia and meningitis and several other complications which his fragile body couldn't fight. He would spend the next nine months in the hospital.

"On New Year's Day my daughter came in from Nashville and she asked him do you know who this is and he said yes, Tammy, and we all cried, it was the first time he had spoken," said Maurine.

Lauton was in and out of consciousness before passing away.

"It was the worst case of West Nile I have seen when you consider only 1 person out of 100 get these kinds of symptoms," said Threlkeld.

Dr. Threlkeld says this is the very reason why people fear the virus, and rightfully so. Maurine hopes by sharing her story, others will pay closer attention to that seemingly innocent mosquito bite that sadly could turn out to be something worse.

"I think we better do something about it if we can spray, and let people know what it's really like, how dangerous it can be," Maurine said.

Doctors say these severe symptoms only affect about one percent of the population and the rest have little to no symptoms.

There is no vaccine against West Nile virus and these deadly cases result from some other cause, not West Nile virus itself.


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