First 2005 Human Case Of West Nile, Confirmed In E. Texas

A local hospital is confirming today, a human case of West Nile Virus. ETMC in Tyler says the patient is a Smith County resident. We've learned from the state health department, which, as late as this afternoon, insisted more testing was needed to make that diagnosis, that the victim is a man.

This is the first confirmed human case of West Nile this year in our part of East Texas. There have been two people diagnosed with the disease in Angelina County. Dr. Paul McGaha of the Texas Department of Health, says the man is being treated for encephalitis, essentially the same treatment for a person with West Nile.

But Dr. McGaha says his office cannot confirm it's West Nile, until viral tests come back from a state lab. That could take several days.

But again, KLTV 7 has received conformation of the West Nile diagnosis from ETMC.

A few important notes about West Nile. Of course it is carried by mosquitoes and is transmitted to animals and humans through their bite. It is not contagious, person to person. Early symptoms resemble the flu, but keep in mind, only one percent of people bitten by infected mosquitoes will develop serious symptoms and many will have no symptoms at all.

Local agencies are still spraying for mosquitoes. But they say the public still needs to exercise precautions to reduce their exposure.

Joe Terrell, reporting.