Victoria hospital patient had West Nile when she died

Sept. 11, 2012 at 4:11 a.m.

A West Nile virus case has been confirmed in Victoria, Shannon Spree, a spokesperson at Citizens Medical Center, said.

Spree said officials from the Department of State Health Services told her that a woman patient at the hospital was found to have the mosquito-borne virus. The patient died, but officials noted there were other contributing factors to her death, and she did not die from West Nile virus, Spree said.

Spree said she is not allowed to release any other information about the patient due to privacy laws.

Christian Mann, assistant press officer for the Department of State Health Services, said she could not confirm that a woman died in Citizens, but said it had been confirmed on Sept. 5 that someone with West Nile had died in Victoria. Because of lag time between investigating and reporting these cases, Mann said the death may not be reflected in the health department statistics for days or weeks.

The dead woman did not die from West Nile, Dr. Bain Cate, director of Calhoun County, Cuero-DeWitt County and Victoria City-County Health Departments, said. Cate said the patient was elderly and had been in general poor health when she died.

Meanwhile, Cate noted that West Nile is a virus carried by mosquitos and is not contagious. He said there are no mosquito infestations in the area, advising people to observe the usual precautions when dealing with mosquitos.

Emergency Management Coordinator Jeb Lacey agreed.

People should observe precautions that help protect against any mosquito-born illness, he said. They need to drain any standing water, use DEET mosquito repellant, avoid outdoor activities at dawn or dusk, and dress in long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you have to be outside, he said.

"Citizens of our community are accustomed to mosquitos and know what to do to reduce or limit their impact because they deal with this year after year," Lacey said.



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