Second person in Williamson County tested for West Nile Virus

Health officials are investigating what could be the second human case of West Nile Virus in Williamson County.

This time a Georgetown woman over 50 who was diagnosed with meningitis has been tested for the virus.
The City is already spraying in neighborhoods that have had mosquitoes which tested positive for the virus.     

“There's no such thing now in Texas as a safe mosquito bite,” said John Teel, executive director of the Williamson County and Cities Health District. 

About a week ago the health department was made aware of a man over 55 who was exhibiting symptoms of the West Nile Virus. His blood tests showed he was probably infected with just that.

Now, one week later, a woman who lives within a mile of the first possible case has been tested.

“We're awaiting blood tests on that case, so we really can't call it a suspect West Nile Virus case, but we will follow that case until all the blood test results are in to see if indeed it is a mosquito borne disease of some type,” Teel said. 

The most recent patient has already been diagnosed with meningitis. That can be caused by West Nile, but can also be caused by 18 other viruses. Only 1 in 100 people infected with West Nile will develop meningitis or encephalitis.

“Well, 80 percent of us injected or infected with West Nile Virus will never know it. We won't show a symptom at all,” said Teel. 

The possible human case of West Nile Virus isn't the only reason the City is spraying for the insects. There have already been mosquitoes in several traps that tested positive for the virus.

“We've now had nine total and that's a much busier year for us than the previous two or three years. It's not near as bad as the summer of 2012 when Texas had really an epidemic or episodic of West Nile Virus,” Teel said. 

“I'm not even going outside that late at night anymore, because I'm scared I'm going to get bit,” said Annah Tucker who lives in the Oak Crest neighborhood. 

The City sprayed for mosquitoes in Tucker’s neighborhood on October 29, 30 and November 1.

“Being proactive is the best way until it's too late, you know, so anything they can do to prevent it is a good thing,” Tucker said.

Health officials want people to remember that while the City is doing their part, neighbors in high-risk areas should take their own precautions.

“You may very well be exposed to infected mosquitoes and West Nile Virus is a dangerous, dangerous virus,” said Teel.