CENTRAL TEXAS - Medical experts with Dell Children's Hospital spoke Thursday about Coy Hopkins' diagnosis.
Dr. Coburn Allen, Dell Children’s pediatric infectious disease specialist, said that Hopkin's blood tests came back positive for West Nile and West Nile antibodies.
While the hospital can't yet say that West Nile was the definitive cause of Cody's death, they are working with his parents to educate the public.
"The West Nile Virus...almost always causes no, or very little illness," Dr. Allen said. "The thought is about 1 in every 250 or so patients will actually go on to get a severe form of infection. The average person gets nothing. No symptoms at all."
Allen said the next tier of patients exhibit signs of a mild fever and can develop rashes as well.
"It honestly acts a whole lot like other viral infections that we see," he said.
Finally, there are very small percentages of patients who are infected by a neuro-invasive species.
"Neuro-invasive meaning it attacks part of the brain or areas around the brain," Allen said. "In my 20 plus years in pediatric infectious diseases, I've never seen a severe case of neuro-invasive disease in a child."
"It's very real,' Cody's father Greg Lashmet said. "It took the life of our child and I pray to god it doesn't take the life of anyone else."
While Lashmet said he and his wife are still coping with the loss of their son, he said they also want to make sure that others don't end up in their shoes.
Both he and Dr. Allen said that the most important thing is to always wear bug spray with DEET and to always put it on your children as well.
Additionally, they said spraying around your home can cut down on mosquito populations and wearing mosquito-preventative clothing in target environments can be beneficial as well.
"You don't think about it and it feels like ' well we can't live life in fear'," Lashmet said, "but we can take an extra step to at least protect our kids...I know it may be a pain sometimes to have to do that every time they walk outside the door, but it's more of a pain to have your child die right in front of you."
For a full statement from Lashmet, watch the attached video.
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