Wikinews finds citizens' feelings, actions throughout Texas regarding West Nile virus threat vary greatly

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Wikinews spoke to several residents of the US state of Texas finding varying opinions, and responses, to the threat from the West Nile virus; this, in contrast to the troubling media reports released recently. The state as a whole has seen more than 400 confirmed instances of the illness so-far this year.

A girl applies insect repellant to her arm.

A Longview woman, said, "[...] It's terrifying. I'm so scared." The woman was quick to point out a virus-related death occured in her city the same day. When asked about her daily routines, in light of the virus, she said, "I don't go outside. I stay indoors. West Nile [virus] is bad." The Director of Nursing for a large encampment located near Tyler said their operation had seen no cases of the illness, despite serving over 19,000 campers this summer. Her staff took no special precautions during August.

Although having some worries, Jimmy Philmont, 39, of Fairfield told Wikinews, "[...] I don't let it keep me up at night. Overall, I'm not too scared." Asked if he was aware of recent virus-related deaths in Texas, Philmont said, "Yeah, I am. That's kind of scary. But, you have to live your life, you know? The world is hot now. You can't go hide in a hole somewhere." Earlier in the month, Tim Whitley, a city official in Malakoff, told Wikinews his city had began using a pesticide specialist to spray twice-weekly. Whitley explained two treatments per week is more often than usual for the city, "With the concerns in Dallas, we're taking it seriously", he said.

A nurse at a senior activity center in Austin told media she'd taken time to educate their facility's clients about the virus and proper precautions; Adding, "They feel less alarmed and we try to protect our folks here [...]". Mark Kitsmore, 54, of Tyler said, "Honestly, I'm not too worried about it." He jokingly commented, "I've probably used a little more bug spray over the past few weeks, though."

Twenty-six people have died so-far this year as result of having contracted the virus, approximately half occurring in Texas. The mayor and county judge in Dallas have declared a state of emergency in response to the virus.


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