By DAVID MAY
This is not the time of year most people feel the onset of flu. Having those symptoms can mean a precursor to something more serious.
That was the case recently for Weatherford resident Allen Beadel. When he began breaking out in cold sweats, had a loss of appetite and turned pale, his wife made a phone call and he was soon on his way to Weatherford Regional Medical Center. That was on June 28, and he stayed in the hospital until July 2.
It was on July 8 that he was notified that test results showed he had been infected by West Nile virus.
Beadel said he also had low blood pressure, but his temperature was normal, and he said hospital officials were not completely sure what they were treating. They performed some normal steps like administering fluids and antibiotics while putting Beadel through a battery of tests and calling in a cardiologist, looking for his symptoms’ cause.
Complicating diagnosis somewhat was that Beadel also has diabetes issues.
“They weren’t really sure,” said Beadel of hospital staff treating him.
He said he recovered and was released from the hospital. Still feeling weak, he had several more scheduled days off from work to continue his recovery.
“I feel like I was fortunate,” Beadel said. “It is not uncommon for it to develop into (West Nile Neuroinvasive).”
According to the Texas Department of Health, 80 percent of people infected with WNV recover on their own, while the other 20 percent develop more serious symptoms and illness, with some ending in death.
Beadel said he is not sure when or where he was bitten by the infectious mosquito. Beadel works outdoors for a telecommunications company, and often works – as he did around this time – in other counties. He said he wears sunscreen and insect repellent as required by his company.
Working outside during the day, Beadel said he is not one to spend much time outdoors around his home gardening or doing yard work.
The TDH as of July 16 said there have been just two human West Nile infections in 2013, one in Tarrant County and one in Anderson County, in 2013, with no deaths. There have been 26 other West Nile virus cases reported, 25 in mosquitoes and one horse case.
West Nile is a mosquito-born virus. People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming ill if they become infected with the virus. The TDH recommends these steps to help prevent infection:
• Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Follow the instructions on the label.
• Regularly drain standing water, including water that collects in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
• Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
At this time the City of Weatherford is responding to any individual reports of mosquitoes but has not scheduled regular spraying.