Nashville resident dies from West Nile virus - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville resident dies from West Nile virus

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The only person known to have caught West Nile Virus in Davidson County so far this year has now died from the illness.

Metro Public Health Department officials announced the news Tuesday.

James Smith, 70, of Antioch, had underlying medical conditions, and the virus ended up killing him.

Human cases of West Nile have been rare in Davidson County, but, this year West Nile has been confirmed in batches of mosquitoes in Antioch, Goodlettsville, Hermitage, Madison, north Nashville and south Nashville.

"Having a reported case is very unusual in Davidson County. If you look over the past three years, we've had no human cases. If you look over the past 10 years, only seven. So it's very unusual," said Brian Todd, with the Metro Health Department.

The mosquitoes that are known to carry West Nile are more active at dusk and nighttime hours, and standing water can attract more mosquitoes and their eggs.

"The best thing anybody can do is look around their house for standing water. It can be flower pots, clogged gutters," said Dr. James English, a disease ecologist at Lipscomb University. "It is usually a cup full or a spoonful."

West Nile first showed up in this country in 1999, and since then nearly 4,000 people have come down with the virus nationwide. Of those, 163 people have died.

It is important to note that many people have strong enough immune systems to shake off the virus' deadly blow. But those who are older and have underlying illnesses could be more susceptible to serious symptoms.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus include a high fever, headache, stiffness in the neck and fatigue.

And with cooler weather brings hope for the end of West Nile season this year.

"Our mosquito season runs April through the first frost, and we're hoping that frost happens soon," Todd said.

The health department recommends the following ways to protect against mosquitoes:

  • Limit time outdoors at dusk and nighttime hours when mosquitoes are present.
  • If you must be outdoors, wear a mosquito repellent that is approved for use by the CDC, including products that contain DEET, Picaridin, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors during dusk to dawn and when mosquitoes are most prevalent. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Pant legs should be tucked into shoes or socks, and collars should be buttoned.
  • Make sure your windows and doors have screens and are in good repair.
  • Reduce or eliminate all standing water in your yard - especially in children's toys, bird baths, clogged gutters, tires, flowerpots, trash cans and wheelbarrows.
  • Cut back overgrown vegetation.

For more information on the health department's mosquito control efforts, call 615-340-5668 or visit: http://www.health.nashville.gov.

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