The first West Nile virus-related death of the year in Dallas County has been reported, the county health department confirmed to WFAA on Tuesday.
Roberta Nelson's sudden death after eight days in the hospital has been a shock to the family. The 88-year-old mother and grandmother from Dallas was energetic and active. She loved being outside and working in her garden. "She loved to be outside. She taught us a weed never grew in a yard. That was one of our chores growing up: pulling weeds," said Marsha Burrows, her daughter.
It was more than a week ago, on July 27. The family tells WFAA that she wasn't answering her daughter's calls on that day. The family had a friend and neighbor named Sandy Herman who decided to check in on Roberta. "I saw her laying on the floor," Herman said. Sandy, with the help of paramedics got Roberta to a hospital.
Nelson would spend close to eight days at Medical City Dallas. The family tells WFAA that Infectious Disease Doctors diagnosed Roberta with the West Nile Virus. "She was complaining about being tired and her vision bothering her. That wasn't like her," said Burrows.
The Dallas County Health Department says Roberta is the first West Nile death this year in the county. Mosquito spraying is dictated by mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile. "It's in every direction possible. It's not in one specific area or in one specific location," said Ganesh Shivaramaiyer, Interim Director of the Dallas County Health Department.
Roberta's daughters are in shock. They ask how a woman, in seemingly good health, who had a can of repellant by the door, and mosquito trap outside, died in 8 days? "It's like losing one of your best friends. She was my best friend," said Diana Nelson.
The family hopes people in the Dallas area realize this can happen to anyone. The Health Department wants to remind the public that the virus is present and has been around for many years. The department stresses that this is a preventable disease and that wearing insect repellant outdoors is a must.
Last year, 26 people contracted the virus and two died in Dallas County. The Health Department wants to remind the public that the virus is present and has been around for many years. The department stressed that West Nile is a preventable disease and that wearing insect repellant outdoors is a must.
Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes are most active. If you are experiencing a high amount of mosquito activity you are encouraged to go to the Dallas County Health Department website to schedule ground spraying and report mosquito activity.