Evansville resident dies of West Nile virus - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

UPDATE: Tri-State man talks about having West Nile virus

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A Vanderburgh County resident is the first person in Indiana to die from the West Nile virus this year.

The health department released no more information on the death, but officials are warning residents to take precautions.

Officials say mosquitoes get that virus from birds, before passing it on to humans. They say the drought has actually added to the problem this year. With fewer water sources, birds and mosquitoes are living closer together.  

If you're ever outside, there's a good chance you'll be around those mosquitos, and as another Tri-State man found out, that can come with consequences. 

"I had the great idea of sleeping with the window open," said Daniel Higdon. 

Like many of us, Higdon thought there was no harm in enjoying the summer breeze blowing through his window until he says he woke up the next morning covered with mosquito bites.

"I think I had a fever that night already of 99," Higdon said.

As the days went on, he says he grew weaker and his fever rose higher.

"I went to the doctor and even then they didn't know of West Nile Virus," Higdon said.

The doctor performed a blood test before prescribing several courses of antibiotics and steroid injections, none of which helped.

"I was hospitalized a couple of times.  ICU there they just kind of gave me an IV because they didn't really know how to treat it," Higdon said.

He says he developed encephalitis and became even weaker. He went back to his doctor, who had just gotten the results of his blood test.

"That's when they were like, you've got the West Nile virus from a mosquito," Higdon states.

Higdon is one of the few with the virus who show any symptoms.

"Of the people who contract it, 130 people may be asymptomatic, 30 may get a fever, and one may contact Encephalitis," said Chris Allen with the health department.  

The elderly and children are usually the most susceptible to the virus, but Higdon is proof that anyone at any age can get very sick from the virus. He now takes every precaution he can.

"We invest in some citronella plants on our porch and those candles that keep bugs away.  Yeah, I wear repellant," said Higdon.

The health department plans to hand out these flyers about the virus to some residents in the city.

You can head to Vanderburgh County's website to find out what to look for.

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