Man discovers he's 1 of 2 human cases of West Nile in Collin County

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by JOBIN PANICKER

WFAA

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 16 at 10:29 AM

PLANO, Texas -- John Baranowski is hoping it's his last doctor's appointment for a while.

He sat in a small room at Compassion Clinic in Dallas, and the doctor checked his heart rate.

The east Plano resident said he has been severely ill, starting in late July.

“The worst I've ever felt... the worst I've ever felt," he repeated. "I felt depressed and down, and I told my wife, 'You need to update my will because this is weird.'”

He took three days off from work, but has really been suffering for more than three weeks.

Tests came back Wednesday showing high levels of West Nile antibodies. Baranowski said he was encouraged by his wife, a physician’s assistant, to go see a doctor. When he arrived at the clinic, he told Dr. Alan Berg he was feeling dizzy, confused, and had a high fever.

“Most adults of that age don’t run a high fever unless something is really going on,” Berg said.

The Collin County Health Department confirmed to News 8 that John is one of the first West Nile cases in the county this year. It was one of two cases the county health department confirmed Thursday. The second case is also in Plano, and both patients are suffering from West Nile fever, the less serious form of the virus.

Still, the disparity in the number of human cases is staggering.

Last year in the county, there were 76 human cases of West Nile and 28 cases from Plano. This year, there have only been two confirmed cases in Collin County.

The city of Plano is taking an aggressive approach in hopes of lowering the number of human cases.

At Shawnee Lake in east Plano, workers with the Environmental Health Department are employing biological control. Ryan Janowski is putting 500 gambusia affinis, or mosquitofish, into the lake -- a practice that has gone on for more than eight years.

“They'll eat somewhere between 80-and-100 mosquitoes per fish, per day,” Janowski said. “It's a lot easier to control mosquito populations when they're in the larva and pupa state.”

It's one way Plano fights West Nile. But the city said the onus is on residents to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves.

“It must've been when I was walking the dog or just coming from the car, or whatever,” Baranowski said.

John Baranowski said he's rarely outside, but lives near a wooded area, so he will always be on alert.

His doctor said he should be back to normal in six weeks.
 

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