First WNV fatality in state named

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2002

The identity of the first Alabama resident to die from the West Nile virus has been confirmed by a Montgomery television station.

WSFA-TV has confirmed that the victim was 83-year-old Inez Campbell, a resident of the Capitol Heights community, one of the oldest communities in Montgomery.

Apparently there have have been many complaints regarding mosquitoes from residents in the community.

Campbell, herself, was said to have spent much time outdoors taking care of flowers and plants.

Campbell died more than two weeks ago, but the state health department was unable to confirm the West Nile results due to the lack of necessary equipment.

In order to confirm a West Nile test, the state must sent its results to a laboratory in Colorado, but Dr. Sharon Massingale of the state lab in Montgomery said the Colorado lab has received so many samples from all over the U.S. that it is extremely backlogged.

A construction project is currently taking place for a new bio-terrorism lab, and when it is constructed, the state should be able to conduct its own tests. The lab is scheduled to be completed in six months.

However, Dr. Bill Johnston said that even with the new lab, confirming the West Nile virus may still take several days.