State’s second West Nile victim from Tucumcari

By Ryn Gargulinski: Freedom Newspapers

TUCUMCARI — A Tucumcari man is New Mexico’s second West Nile fatality of the year.

Alan Bugg, who lived through a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant in June, died Oct. 7 from the mosquito-borne virus, his wife said.

Catherine Buggis is angry the state’s Department of Health doesn’t do more to educate the public or help put a stop to the flurry of mosquitoes carrying the disease.

“I want to put a face to this crap,” she said. “The Health Department just says a 50-year-old male died of the disease. This 50-year-old male was a person.”

Health officials said privacy acts prohibited them from disclosing any more about West Nile victims than their age and county — and they have been issuing releases to educate the public about how they can protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Catherine Bugg said her husband was most likely first bitten in late September on their farm on the eastern edge of town but it took a lot of poking and probing before he was diagnosed with West Nile.

“They did every test in the book,” she said, adding doctors at the hospital tested for diseases carried by cats, livestock and chickens.

“They pretty much went through the laundry list.”

She said her husband entered the hospital on Sept. 24 and it was not until he was transferred to the University of New Mexico four days later and examined by infectious disease specialist Dr. Diane Goad that the family received an answer. By Sept. 30, Bugg was officially diagnosed with West Nile.

The Health Department reported six of the state’s 29 cases of West Nile this year cropped up just recently.

The 29 human cases in 2005 include one in Curry County, officials said.

Eighty-eight human cases of the virus were reported in New Mexico in 2004, with four fatalities, and 209 in 2003, again, with four fatalities.