BRAZOS COUNTY -- You probably don't spend a lot of time worrying about the West Nile Virus but if you live in Brazos County, the health department says now is the time to start worrying, since the county has tested positive and is under a severe threat.
Former Bryan Police officer, Donnie Manry, was in the best shape of his life during the summer of 2006 but that all changed one afternoon while he was in his backyard.
"I woke up with a stiff neck and I thought I had just slept wrong," said Manry. "It was a really bad headache and bad back pain but by the next day that pain had extended into my shoulders and started down the muscles on both sides of my spine."
Six days later Manry was fighting for his life after he was bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile Virus, leaving him partially paralyzed from the chest down.
But Dr. Steve Ramirez, with St. Joseph's Hopsital, says Manry's case is rare.
"Most people don't even develop any symptoms. About only 20% will develop a West Nile fever."
Although there haven't been any human cases in a couple of years, the threat is still very real.
Mark Johnsen with the Brazos County Health Department says, "Brazos County is always positive. There is always a chance of getting West Nile Virus at any time that you go out during the summertime."
Just today, test results came back positive from mosquitoes collected from the McFerrin Athletic Center on A&M's campus.
"Just because it's not on the news every day does not mean you aren't in harms way," says Manry. "It doesn't mean it's gone away."
The Health Department urges everyone to keep up their defenses and practice the four D's which will help protect you from the virus:
- 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 during the peak hours when mosquitoes are most active, DUSK and DAWN.
DRESS in loose fitting, long sleeves and pants when outdoors to prevent bites.