BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A case of West Nile neuroinvasive disease has been confirmed in Bastrop County.
Due to privacy concerns, the Texas Department of State Health Services cannot confirm it as the case of teenager Cody Hopkins, of Elgin, who died Oct. 9. Hopkins’ family told KXAN he died after contracting West Nile Virus.
“The doctors. You could see the frustration on their faces and the sadness in their hearts that they couldn’t do more for him,” said Cody’s father, Greg Lashmet. Last week, Dr. Coburn Allen, Dell Children’s Medical Center pediatric infectious disease specialist, could also not say conclusively if West Nile Virus caused the 13-year-old’s death.
Dr. Allen did say two tests showed Hopkins had West Nile in his body and evidence his immune system was reacting to the virus. “In my 20+ years in pediatrics, I’ve never seen a severe case of neuroinvasive disease in a child,” he said. A severe reaction to West Nile Virus is rare. A small percent of those showing symptoms will get a neuroinvasive disease, meaning it attacks parts of the brain.
Statewide, the number of deaths from West Nile have climbed to 10, according to DSHS. Last week, we reported the number had climbed to seven, up from four the week before. A case of West Nile Virus in a bird in Bastrop County was also confirmed for the first time this year. The county has already reported an equine case.
The department expects West Nile to continue to spread, even with cooling temperatures. At least 215 people in Texas have contracted the virus this year. People can reduce the risk of their exposure by removing standing water from their water property and using approved repellents to avoid bites.
In 2015, there were 275 human cases of West Nile in Texas, including 16 deaths.