Elgin family continuing to raise awareness, research funds for West Nile Virus

Cody Hopkins died after contracting West Nile Virus last year. His family is now speaking out after a batch of moquitoes in Austin tested positive for the virus.

AUSTIN - When mosquitoes test positive for West Nile, the only real way to prepare or combat the virus is to raise awareness about the symptoms and possible preventions.

For instance, the CDC lists symptoms as: fever, headache, tiredness and body aches. They also recommend wearing bug repellant and long sleeved clothes to try and prevent the bites in the first place. 

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For Greg Lashmet, whose son Cody Hopkins died of West Nile Encephalitis last October, neither option are good enough.

"We never would have fathomed in a million years that we'd lose our son to a mosquito bite," Lashmet said. "West Nile is not like other things. It doesn't start inside your body and work itself out. This is carried by a bug."

Cody, 13, was a bull-rider with dreams of being a pro. Now, his family is keeping a memorial fund in his name to keep research going on West Nile.

"Until we get that vaccine, there's really no way to protect yourself," he said. "After doing the research I've done following Cody's death, I kinda feel like the pharmaceutical companies they don't see dollar signs to really step it up and get a vaccine to market."

And that's why they're now raising funds and awareness to try and change that.

"I understand that not everybody gets sick from West Nile, but there's enough people that have died from the disease that I think it's warranted," he said.

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