Ohioan Dies From Virus While Visiting Family

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - An Ohio man visiting his family in upstate New York has died from a West Nile virus infection he apparently contracted at home, health officials said.

Roger C. Brown, 62, a retired firefighter from Findlay, Ohio, and a native of Auburn, came to New York on Sept. 27 to visit family. He was taken to the St. Joseph's emergency room that day for treatment of flulike symptoms. He refused a recommended admittance to the hospital then, according to Onondaga County Health Commissioner Lloyd Novick.

"We just thought he was coming down with the flu at the time," Yvonne Brown, his wife of 43 years, told The Post-Standard of Syracuse in Tuesday editions.

Brown returned to the hospital Oct. 2 with much worse symptoms and died Saturday from the West Nile virus, Novick said.

Brown received a second kidney transplant on Aug. 13. Novick said a weakened immune system associated with anti-rejection drugs given to transplant patients may have contributed to his susceptibility to the West Nile virus.

Novick said a one- to two-week incubation period for the virus means that Brown was infected before he came to central New York.

Ohio has had the third highest number of confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus infections and the third highest number of deaths this year from the virus in the United States, according to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been 341 cases and 14 deaths in Ohio, according to the CDC. Nationally, there have been 2,946 cases and 160 deaths.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)