Lubbock May Have First Human West Nile Death - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/20/03

Lubbock May Have First Human West Nile Death

A Lubbock man diagnosed with the West Nile Virus has died, but was it the virus that killed him? That's the question health officials are still trying to answer.

His name is James Clemmons. Clemmons was 42-years-old. He did have the West Nile Virus and he died Tuesday night at Covenant Lakeside. But what officials don't know at this point is exactly how Clemmons died.

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Clemmons had developed Meningitis related to the West Nile Virus. That could have caused his death, but he may have died from another unrelated cause. "We don't know how close the connection is between the virus and how greatly it contributed to the gentleman's death," says Ken Condon, an Epidemiologist with the Lubbock Health Department.

Condon says we'll know more about the cause of Clemmons death when the pronouncing physician signs the death certificate. That should happen within the next few days. Clemmons would be the first West Nile death in Lubbock County. "We do have 15 known cases, and we're working up several more. We expect to have up to 20 by the end of the week," says Condon.

That puts Lubbock County near the top in Texas among counties with confirmed human West Nile cases. The new theory is that the species of mosquitoes in West Texas could be a more efficient or effective transmitter of the disease than other species of mosquitoes.

Services for James Clemmons will take place this Friday at Westmont Christian Church. That's located at 4808 Utica. Burial will follow at Resthaven Cemetery.

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