First Confirmed Case of West Nile on the South Plains - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


First Confirmed Case of West Nile on the South Plains

It's back. The first human case of West Nile Virus this summer has been confirmed in Olton. Just 50 miles North of Lubbock a 32-year-old man was treated for the disease in June.

Since its arrival in the U.S. in 2002, the mosquito borne-illness has become an epidemic. Last year more than 400 human cases were reported here in Texas. Nearly 50 of those cases were in Lubbock with two of them resulting in deaths.

Effects of the West Nile Virus
Most West Nile Virus infections are mild or the patients don't even know they have it.

Olton health officials are warning you to take action now against West Nile. "We had a young gentleman who came in with very high fever, almost 103 degrees and he had the neck ache and just felt really bad," said Peggy Birkenfeld, nurse practitioner at The Olton Clinic.

She suspected the 32-year-old man was suffering from a case of West Nile Virus. "I went ahead and treated him aggressively and also screened him for the West Nile Virus and it came back positive," she explains.

It's Olton's first case this summer despite the efforts the town has taken to prevent the spread of the disease. "I know that the city has been very aggressive in spraying the town for mosquitoes but it just shows that you have to be very aggressive in treating yourself," Birkenfeld insists.

With recent rainfall, she says the wet environment has provided a breeding ground for mosquitos. "Olton has received many inches of rain this year," she says.

Mosquitoes depend on stagnant bodies of water like this those left from last night's storm, which means we see more cases of West Nile on the South Plains.

If you are bitten by an infected mosquito it could take up to 12 days before you experience any symptoms. "Just protect yourself and your family. Young children and older people are the most vulnerable," she advises.

Learn More About the West Nile Virus
Get the answers to your questions about the West Nile virus, and find out what you can do to prevent this deadly disease from spreading.
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The Olton man diagnosed with West Nile has recovered from his symptoms.

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