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August 19, 2012

Citizens\’ feelings, actions throughout Texas regarding West Nile virus threat vary greatly

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Recent interviews conducted by Wikinews reveal many residents of the US state of Texas hold varying opinions, and are responding differently, to the threat from the West Nile virus; this, in contrast to the troubling media reports released in recent days. The state as a whole has seen more than 400 confirmed instances of the illness already this year. Several respondents offered their opinions regarding the overall situation.

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 that a virus-related death had happened in her city that 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 he has 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.” When asked if he was aware of the 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 begun using a pesticide specialist to spray two times weekly. Whitley also explained two treatments per week was more often than usual for the city. “With the concerns in Dallas, we’re taking it seriously”, Whitley 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. She added, “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 went on to say with a laugh, “I’ve probably used a little more bug spray over the past few weeks, though.”

Twenty six people have died this year as result of having contracted the virus; approximately one-half of those deaths occurred in Texas. The mayor and county judge in Dallas have declared a state of emergency there.

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