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Two More West Nile Deaths in Travis County (Updated)

Update: Nov. 11, 1:09 p.m.:

Dr. Philip Huang is the Medical Director for Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services. He says there are still some people in the county who are very sick from the virus but he’s hopeful the death total won’t continue to rise.

Dr. Huang says it’s not clear if West Nile will be as big of a problem next year.

“This particular season with the warmer winter and then some of the spring rains seemed to be sort of the conditions that really promoted West Nile activity," Huang says. "So we don’t know how things are going to be next year. But I think there’s certainly some concern that there is going to be for the future continued increase in some mosquito activity and things in the Austin-Travis County area.”

Huang says the county has found mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile as recently as late October.

Original Story: Nov. 11, 6:26 a.m.:

The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department reports two more people in Travis County have died of West Nile virus.

That brings the total number of deaths in the county from West Nile tofive this year. Before this year, Travis County hadn’t seen any deaths from the virus since 2007.

The most recent deaths happened at the end of last month (Oct. 31) and the beginning of this month (Nov. 6). Both people first got sick back in September.

Cooler temperatures are now leading to decreased mosquito activity.

The department says the last case of someone in the county contracting the virus was reported on Oct. 10.

Both of the most recent victims died of the more serious, neuroinvasive form of the virus. Both patients were over 50 and had underlying health conditions—which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says put them at higher risk for severe illness.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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