Second West Nile case reported in Vidalia

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, August 1, 2012

VIDALIA — A 72-year-old Vidalia resident had to be transported to Baton Rouge Tuesday for treatment for West Nile Virus. It’s the second reported case in Vidalia in two weeks.

Randy Legier said his mother, Delores David, spent two weeks in area hospitals being treated for nausea, fever and suspected septic infections and stroke before being diagnosed with West Nile Virus.

Doctors believe David has developed encephalitis, a swelling of the brain that is one of the more serious developments West Nile can present, Legier said.

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Tuesday she was moved to Baton Rouge General Hospital because doctors there could give her a more specialized standard of care, Legier said.

“West Nile shows no mercy on old people, for sure,” Legier said. “My mom was a retired police dispatcher who could keep up with 30 police cars and where they were in her head before this, but she’s gone to not being able to talk, respond or even know her name. It is very scary.”

In its worst cases, West Nile Virus can result in encephalitis or meningitis. In milder cases, it results in nausea, fever, headache, vomiting, muscle weakness and swollen lymph nodes.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease.

David, who lives in the Miller Street area of Vidalia, spent time outdoors with her flowers and led a fairly active life, Legier said.

A second Vidalia resident — a woman in her early 50s — was informed last week she had West Nile Virus after giving blood at a local blood drive. That case was considered low-risk and asymptomatic.

Vidalia has been operating a mosquito abatement program since May, putting larvacide in known mosquito breeding areas and spraying insecticide mist twice a week, Vidalia Street Director Lee Staggs said.

For the last week, the mosquito truck has been broken, but the necessary part needed to get it up and running came in Monday, and spraying resumed Tuesday. Staggs said the city would spray three times a week until peak mosquito season ended.

Outside of the Vidalia city limits, however, Concordia Parish does not have a mosquito abatement program.

Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said the parish was given a grant several years ago to purchase the necessary equipment, but after six months no longer had the funding for the program.

“We proposed something to the public to give us the funds to operate a mosquito program, and at that time the tax failed,” Ferrington said. “We had no other choice but not to operate an abatement program.”

Even in areas where abatement programs are in effect, Staggs said individuals also need to do their part to fight the mosquito threat by making sure no sources of standing water are available in which mosquitoes can breed.

“They need to go in their backyards and dump out containers of water,” he said. “A lot of mosquitoes are born in old tires and birdbaths.”

As of Tuesday, Mississippi has a total of 28 laboratory confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus. As of Friday, Louisiana had 33 cases.