Alabama records 12 West Nile cases, 1 death

Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed one person has died from West Nile virus in Montgomery County.

That county has been hit the hardest by the virus in Alabama so far. Montgomery County resident Jim Parker was struck by it back in June.

He got very sick, but for weeks, neither he nor his doctors could figure out what was wrong. After lots of testing, West Nile was confirmed.

He thinks he was bitten by an infected mosquito while sitting on his porch.

"I was lethargic, disoriented. I had trouble walking. I couldn't keep my balance," said Parker.

His condition worsened and since there is no vaccine or medication to treat the virus, he checked into the hospital, where he spent a week.

He has now recovered from West Nile, but that took him more than six weeks to do.

There are 12 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in Alabama, half of those are in Montgomery County. Mobile County has three of them, while Tuscaloosa, Jefferson and Baldwin counties each have one.

State Health Officer Don Williamson said Friday that Alabama is ahead of where it was at the same time in 2008, when a record 18 cases were diagnosed.

Williamson attributed the high number in Montgomery County to doctors in the county historically being more aggressive about diagnosing the illness. He said the majority of the cases are never diagnosed because they result in mild symptoms.

Health officials say to prevent being bitten by a mosquito infected with West Nile virus, people should wear light colored, long sleeved clothing. Also, use insect repellent and avoid standing water.

Insect spray can be used on bushes in the daytime, since that is where adult mosquitos rest during daylight hours.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.