Grieving family warns of West Nile after two confirmed Travis County cases

With a second person in Travis County diagnosed with the West Nile Virus, and a second positive pool of mosquitoes found in the Barton Creek greenbelt, doctors are urging the public to be careful.

“Symptoms are like a headache, fever, rash, almost flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Philip Huang, medical director, Austin Public Health.

Doctor Huang says 80 percent of people don't have symptoms, about another 20 percent may feel some.

“A little less than 1 percent, get the severe form or neuro invasive form,” said Huang.

That is the kind that killed 13-year-old Cody Hopkins, of Elgin. His family says one day while getting a ride home from his coach he couldn't remember his way home. His grandmother got news she did not want to hear the next day.

“I got a call from my daughter in law, they were saying they were taking Cody to the hospital,” said Rosalee Kibby.

Kibby says doctors treated Cody for an auto-immune disease. It wasn't until days later they tested for West Nile and got a positive result. But it was already too late to begin treatment for his West Nile Encephalitis.

“They said you have to make a decision because there is no brain activity.  We made the decision that Cody would not want to live as a vegetable. We held Cody while they unplugged him and he passed,” said Kibby.

His mom is warning everyone to protect themselves.

“I really didn't do anything about it because I didn't think about it to be honest. It was a freak deal,” said Lacey Hopkins.

Over the past two years, Cody's family has been talking with Baylor researchers and lawmakers, hoping a vaccine can be an option one day. West Nile may not be an immediate threat, but any family can become part of that less than 1 percent with just one bite.

“Make sure you take care of your babies. We didn't think it was going to happen to us but it did,” said Hopkins.