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First Death from West Nile Confirmed in Lamar County


A man from Lamar County with underlying health conditions has died from the neural-invasive strain of the West Nile virus, a health official says.

Paris-Lamar County Health Department Executive Director Gina Prestridge told KETR Thursday the death occurred Monday and officials just received confirmation from the lab. The man's name and age were not given.

“That’s the first death for Lamar County [from West Nile],” Prestridge said.

She added the county has six other cases of West Nile fever, as well as three cases currently under investigation. The virus is spread to humans by mosquitoes that contract the virus from infected birds.

The Health Department says they consistently spray for mosquitoes in the City of Paris, and by request for the nearby towns of Roxton and Reno.

Prestridge added, “We do put out lots of precautionary and things that people can do to protect themselves and their homes. We keep pushing those messages.”

Those warnings include wearing long sleeves and pants when outside during peak mosquito times, at dusk and dawn, and removing standing water, plus replacing outside water bowls for pets daily.

Thursday’s news from Lamar County comes a day after the Texas Department of State Health Services said the tally of West Nile cases and deaths had more than doubled over the past two weeks, with 894 cases and 35 deaths as of Wednesday. 21 of those deaths had occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The abundance of cases in North Texas has prompted aerial spraying in the Dallas area, and ground spraying in neighboring counties.

The City of Bonham conducted two rounds of spraying this week, with spraying scheduled again for September 11 and 12. The Greenville Parks and Recreation Department began spraying this week at each of the Greenville ISD campuses, upon request from the district. And in Commerce, where spraying begins each May and runs through late summer, city officials have announced they’ll extend the program through September.  Spraying will be administered each Monday through Thursday, with the exception of Labor Day on September 3.

Commerce Spray schedule for September (Beginning at 7:30 p.m.):

Monday: Section A - Borders the north side of Live Oak Street and the west side of Park Street Tuesday: Section B - Borders the south side of Live Oak Street, north side of Culver Street and west side of Park Street Wednesday: Section D - Borders the south side of Culver Street, east side of Park Street and south side of Maple Street Thursday: Section C - Borders the north side of Maple Street and the east side of Park Street.