11/04/12 — County child has West Nile

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County child has West Nile

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 4, 2012 1:50 AM

A 10-year-old Rosewood Middle School student has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus after developing a severe illness and then, later, going into a coma at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Justin Frizzelle started to show symptoms this past Monday after being bitten multiple times by mosquitoes, said Erica Thompson of Goldsboro, the boy's cousin. The next day, the boy had a seizure and was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where doctors ran tests but were unable to determine the cause of the boy's illness.

Justin was then airlifted to Vidant, where the West Nile diagnosis was made and where he lapsed into a coma. He remains in critical condition.

Mrs. Thompson said the family wanted to share their story to create public awareness of the potential dangers still out there to contract the illness.

Justin is the youngest of four children. His parents are Sabrina and Doug Best of Grantham.

Mrs. Thompson said the parents have been holding a vigil at the hospital and would appreciate prayer support from their community.

Anyone who wants to leave a message should call 919-223-0505. Send notes of encouragement to erica.thompson71@gmail.

Davin Madden, Wayne County health director, said his office has not been notified with an official confirmation of the latest case.

"They're usually contacting us within 24 hours to two days," he said Friday afternoon.

Madden said he is only aware of two previous cases of West Nile in the county this year. One involved an 84-year-old Goldsboro man who died, while the other was less severe, with the victim treated and released.

The health director agreed with Mrs. Thompson's advice about being aware of the potential danger associated with a mosquito bite.

"Hopefully with the weather changing like it is, we'll see a reduction in the mosquito population," he said. "Don't let your guard down as far as taking the precautions."

West Nile virus is one of several mosquito-borne viruses. Safety precautions include avoiding breeding sites for mosquitoes, emptying standing water from wading pools, buckets and barrels, using FDA-approved mosquito repellent and wearing protective clothing like pants and long sleeves when outdoors, particularly at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

According to the Center for Disease Control, about 20 percent of people who become infected with the virus will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.

The symptoms of severe disease include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. About 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with the virus.

Most people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any type of illness (an asymptomatic infection), however you cannot know ahead of time if you will get sick or not when infected.