Huntington man says wife is 1st case of WNV in Deep East Texas in 2015

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Officials at a Lufkin hospital have confirmed they are treating their first case of West Nile Virus this year.

CHI St. Luke's Health Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Yana Ogletree confirmed someone in the hospital was diagnosed with the virus late Tuesday. She said those records will be forwarded to the Angelina Health District.

David Jones said his wife, Diane Jones, had been in the hospital for a week. He said doctors did a spinal tap and confirmed she has the virus.

"She can't speak," Jones said. "She doesn't open her eyes. Her motor skills don't work. She can't walk."

"You might have a mild disease or it could become neuroinvasive," said MD Richard Roby of CHI St. Luke's Memorial Hospital.

According to state records, it is the first case of West Nile Virus in Deep East Texas, but Roby said incidents in Angelina County have consistently stood out. 

Roby referred to a CDC map, which showed Angelina County as the only East Texas county to rank in the highest bracket for incidents from 1999 to 2014.

"There is no cure," Jones said. "They're giving her steroids to try to combat this. All we can do is wait and pray that this gets better for her."

Jones said he does not know how long it will take for his wife to recover.

"The hospital's been great," Jones said. "They did all kinds of stuff and went the extra mile to figure out what's wrong."

Roby said early symptoms are, "Fatigue, headache, weakness, and sometimes problems with impaired thinking."

According to the Centers for Disease Control website, West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. About one in five will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than one percent develop a serious neurological illness.

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