Bexar County records first West Nile death of 2012

77-year-old retired military man died at SAMMC Tuesday

Author: Tim Gerber , Reporter, tgerber@ksat.com
Published On: Aug 30 2012 03:45:18 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 22 2012 12:23:16 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

Bexar County has recorded its first death from West Nile virus, health officials announced Wednesday.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department said the illness is being blamed for the death of a 77-year-old man. He is the 27th person in Texas to die from West Nile this year.

Dr. Vincent Nathan, an assistant director at MetroHealth, said he can't release too much information about the victim due to medical privacy laws. He did say the man was retired from the military and died at the San Antonio Military Medical Center Tuesday.

It's unknown where he lived in the city and Nathan says it doesn't really matter.

"This is not a communicable disease, so anybody around him, wherever he was when he got bitten, could very well catch the disease if they visited the same place, so it's relative at best," Nathan said.

According to Nathan, there are several suspected cases of West Nile in Bexar County but only three have been confirmed by a laboratory.

Nathan said the man fits the profile of the 1 percent of the population that is susceptible to the disease when bitten by an infected mosquito.

He reminded residents to keep in mind that most people who are bitten won't get sick.

"Still, the 85 percent of people who are bitten by mosquitoes won't experience those kinds of conditions, so it is bad -- it's never good -- but he was not an unexpected case," Nathan said.

Next week, the city will increase its fogging patrols and will begin distributing literature to libraries and senior citizen centers reminding older residents to stay indoors at dawn and dusk and to wear long sleeves and pants when going outside.

Nathan said all of us need to do our part to cut down on mosquito breeding.

"Help us to look for standing water. All the inspectors in the city of San Antonio can't look for all the standing water in the city," Nathan said.

The city will resume spraying next Monday. Meanwhile, the county continues to spray the areas they're responsible for.

Because of last weekend’s rain, Nathan said those fogging crews are having to go back and treat some areas a second time.

At Fort Sam Houston, officials were set to begin spraying for the insects on post beginning at midnight Thursday.

Crews will use hand foggers which we are more directed than aerial spraying and they get into more specific areas. The spraying will continue until 3 a.m. and will resume Friday morning. The fogging will focus on areas near the post golf course and the honor guard horse stables, where the first three positive samples were found.

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.