Woman Infected With West Nile Dies

62 year old Jeanette Jones of Longview was originally taken to the hospital August 4th with a high fever and nausea. Within a couple of weeks, doctors discovered she was suffering from the West Nile virus.

On Sunday, Jeanette died at Longview Regional Hospital. An autopsy has been ordered because Jeanette suffered from a host of other medical problems.

Sherron Hill says her mother has been through a lot, but says she always kept a positive attitude. She loved to spend time on her front porch waving at everyone who passed by her house, but her family believes that's where Jeanette was infected with West Nile.

John Solomon lives at this house with Jeanette, he says August 5th she fell ill. "She had a 104 fever. She was real sick and she didn't even realize it herself. She thought it was just a little sickness that would go away, but it wasn't," says Solomon.

Those symptoms, says Phillip Boax with Good Shepherd Medical Center are what a patient with West Nile virus could experience.

"One in about every 150 will develop meningitis or encephalitis. Meningitis is the swelling of the spinal chord, encephalitis is the swelling of the brain tissue and those are the people that are very, very sick from this," says Boax.

Doctors say most people will never know they've actually been infected. Only 20% of people will get a slight fever and nausea. But for people like Jeanette, her family now just wants to know for sure if West Nile took her life.

Again, doctors say the majority of people infected with West Nile will never get sick. About 20% will have minor symptoms. They say in rare cases serious symptoms will occur which are poor coordination, paralysis, fever and nausea or loss of appetite. Doctors warn if you do experience these more serious symptoms. You should go to a hospital for treatment.

Amy Tatum, reporting.