Brazos County Resident Dies From West Nile Virus

A Brazos County resident has died from West Nile virus, health department officials confirmed Thursday.

Not only is this the first fatality in Brazos County this year, this is the first reported death in Texas due to the virus in 2008, according to the Department of State Health Services.

This is the third human case of West Nile virus in Brazos County so far this year.

The Brazos County Health Department won't release the person's identity, their age, or where they live.

However, health officials confirmed the person contracted the virus in Brazos County, but died out of state.

Bryan resident, Jerry Cotrone says his mother, Pauline died from West Nile virus August 28.

Three days after burying his mother, Jerry Cotrone spent Thursday afternoon sorting through her things.

"She did love her family," Cotrone recalled as he looked through family pictures.

On August 10, Pauline Catrone and her brother took a trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Pauline didn't know she had West Nile virus when she left her Bryan home, her son said.

"It started out with fever, she was running 104 fever, vomiting and diarrhea," said Cotrone.

From those flu-like symptoms, Pauline went into a coma. And after three weeks in the hospital, Jerry had to make the hardest decision of his life; to remove his 74-year-old mother from a respirator.

"She looked at me and she had a ventilator tube in her throat and couldn't talk, she moved her lips and looked at me with those eyes, and she said, 'oh Jerry, you're here'," Cotrone recalled.

Pauline Cotrone lived on Arbor Street in Bryan's Briargate subdivision. Her house is right next to a creek, which is where Jerry believes his mother contracted the virus.

"I bought her a bug zapper to put in the house because I knew the mosquitoes were there, but I didn't realize they were that bad," Cotrone said.

"I really think they need to start spraying neighborhoods to try to stop this, or at least slow it down."

According to health department officials, they are spraying.

While they don't fog the entire area, every time a mosquito tests positive for West Nile, they notify the city, who then sprays that particular area.

"Regional to localized spraying is just, if not, more effective than doing wide-scale distribution type spraying, and much more cost effective to the community," Brazos County's Health Authority Dr. Charles Williams said.

There hasn't been a positive sample collected from the Briargate area, therefore, Pauline Cotrone's neighborhood had not been sprayed, said health officials.

All Brazos County residents are urged to keep up their defenses and practice the Four D's:

-- Drain standing water around the house, including tires, cans, flowerpots, rain gutters, buckets, wading pools, puddles, etc. Trim grass and shrubs and do not over water lawns and gardens.
-- Wear insect repellent containing DEET.
-- Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
-- Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors to prevent bites.

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