News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 10, 2012
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- South Carolina has had 17 cases of West Nile virus and now one death after Stacy Furtick, an 80-year old North Augusta man, lost a fight with the disease late last month.
"He was in good health," said Danny Wray, Furtick's son in-law. "He had no problems."
Wray says Furtick loved the outdoors.
"He'd mainly just sit outside by himself all day long," Wray explained. "There was a lot of mosquitoes around, but he was always OK with it."
Turns out, Furtick wasn't OK with it. In late August, he started complaining of muscle aches, shortened breath and an upset stomach.
Then, one day, it hit him hard.
"He shook like crazy," Wray said. "I mean, he just was in bad shape."
Blood tests confirmed Stacy had West Nile virus, a disease birds carry, but mosquitoes transfer it to humans. Furtick later slipped into a coma and died.
"When it hit him, or the last of it hit him -- four days exactly he was gone," Wray said. "People think it won't happen to them or anyone in their family."
Now, all Wray has left of his father-in-law are pictures and memories, but he says he's determined to turn this into a positive event.
"If this will help somebody realize what West Nile really does, then I'm glad to do this interview," he explained.
South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control recommends following the "four D's:"
1. Use bug spray with DEET in it.
2: Dress to cover your skin.
3: Avoid spending lots of time at dawn and dusk.
4: Drain any standing water near your home.
Wray also has some advice.
"It doesn't take but one mosquito, and it could be one in 1,000 that's infected, but you don't know and that one [mosquito] could take you out of here," he said as a stern reminder.