89-year-old man infected with West Nile virus

- A La Porte resident is fighting for his life after he was diagnosed with West Nile virus. He has been in the hospital for weeks.

Remigio Garcia fell ill 20 days ago. When his daughter and granddaughter took him to the hospital, they didn’t know he would end up on life support fighting to survive.

“He just got real weak and then he got fevers that wouldn’t go away,” said Deborah Reyes, his daughter. “And then he got the shakes real bad and they thought he had three or four strokes.”

But Garcia was not suffering from strokes. Doctors later learned he was having convulsions, tremors and paralysis, all symptoms of West Nile virus. He was admitted to the hospital on July 2 and after a spinal tap, the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed he had West Nile.

“It’s very hard,” said Vanessa Reyes, Garcia's granddaughter. “I mean it’s really hard. I’m used to him being so strong and very mobile and talking.”

Vanessa said her grandfather is extremely active. At 89 years old, he still finds time to mow the lawn on hot summer days.

“He was outside," added Vanessa. "He loves being outside all the time so that’s probably when he got bit you know and he had a rapid decline.”

The virus is spread by infected mosquitos. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, people older than 50 or with weakened immune systems are at a high risk of becoming seriously ill.

“We’re just concerned and want people to know that it’s in La Porte and to take precaution so this won’t happen to somebody else.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can avoid contracting viruses like West Nile by using strong insect repellant containing DEET, wearing long sleeve clothing and making sure all doors have proper screens in your home.

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