Family says Elgin teen dies of rare form of West Nile

13-year-old Cody Hopkins' grandmother Rosalee Hopkins says her grandson didn't live life in bubble wrap -- he was very active.  He rode bulls, horses and played football.

"As much as Cody was loved...it wasn't enough protection," Hopkins said.

It was a mosquito that took her grandson's life, according to Hopkins.

Cody's family says the 13-year-old aspiring bull-rider got sick at the end of September. He was diagnosed with the very-rare "West Nile Encephalitis" -- which caused him to lose motor skills and speech. Cody was treated at Dell Children's Hospital but we asked Internal Medicine Doctor Adam Brittain with St. David's about West Nile in general.

He says the virus usually goes away on its own. Only 20% of people who get it see symptoms.

"Of those 20%, they can be serious.  About 1% do develop neurological symptoms, things like encephalitis which is a global Encephalopathy.  Patient will get confused, the children will get confused, they'd be less interactive," Brittain said.

At McDade Junior High Tuesday morning, friends and family gathered inside to remember Hopkins.

"It was awesome, it was overwhelming to see the love that people have for Cody and to know how many lives that Cody's touched," she said.

The Hopkins family wants to spread the word: protect your children from mosquitoes.

"Use all the repellent you can on your children, don't take any chances.  Really protect them," Hopkins said.

"I would recommend using insect repellent containing Deet, and also as important if not more importantly: skin covering.  Cover the legs, cover the arms if you can.  Stay away from free standing water," Brittain said.

Cody's mom Lacey says her son's spirit lives on.  She believes this is his calling.

"He would do anything in this world to save another kid.  and then taking that spinal fluid and doing science on it, we're hoping that's one step closer to finding a vaccination for people -- because you never would think that it was going to be one little bug that would take out my boy's life."

By the way, the State Health Department confirms they are investigating a West Nile case out of Bastrop County.  Of course that's most likely this case.

This Saturday there will be a celebration of Cody's life at the Lost Pines Cowboy Church in Elgin and on Sunday, Cody's ashes will be put on the back of a bull for one last ride at the Circleville Store in Taylor. 

There will also be a silent auction. Friends of the family say if you'd like to donate to that auction you can take items to the Circleville Store on Highway 95.


A 13-year old Bastrop County boy is dead after contracting the West Nile Virus.

According to the Prayers for Cody Facebook page, Cody Hopkins died Sunday night. He had contracted West Nile earlier this month and within a few days his condition worsened. Cody's family said the virus turned into Encephalitis, which attacked his brain and caused severe hemorrhaging.

There will be a celebration of Cody Hopkins life on Saturday morning. It's happening at 11:00 at Lost Pines Cowboy Church in Elgin.

On Sunday, there will also be another event celebrating Cody's life in Taylor. It will be a bullriding event at the Circleville Store. Bullriding happened to be one of the activities that Cody loved. There will also be a silent auction.

 

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