Wife of man killed by West Nile: "It started with a headache" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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Wife of man killed by West Nile: "It started with a headache"

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RINGGOLD, GA (WRCB) -

A mosquito surveillance trap hangs from a tree in Ringgold with a notice from the Georgia Department of Health. 

It's designed to catch mosquitoes so researchers can learn more about them and so health officials can monitor Zika and West Nile activity. 

Researchers picked this area to place five traps after Tommy Helms died from the West Nile Virus last week. 

He lived across the street from this Clark Circle lot for more than 20 years with his wife, Evelyn. 

She's still in shock at how fast the virus took her otherwise healthy husband of nearly 66 years. 

She said it all started with a headache. 

"He pointed to the center of his forehead and he said, I've got the worst headache that I've ever had and I think something has popped in my head," she added. 

Several days later tests revealed the man known around town as "Pops" had become infected with West Nile. 

Evelyn said her husband stayed busy, often visiting the 12 rental properties they own and cutting grass. 

"He put a rubber band around his ankles and his shoes, of course he was using a rider, and we thought that was protection," she added. 

She says mosquitoes have been particularly bad this year. 

She believes an overgrown lot across the street may be contributing to the problem. 

"When you protect your home that doesn't mean that you can protect a city block of overgrown, grassy and debris," she said. 

Health officials may never know where the mosquito came from that infected Tommy, but that's not stopping Evelyn from sharing his story. 

She wants families visiting a nearby park to be on guard. 

To Evelyn, her husband will always be her Memphis sweetheart, who lived life to the fullest and adored his family above anything else. 

Health officials have confirmed cases of West Nile in McMinn, Hamilton and Catoosa counties.

READ MORE | UPDATE: 4 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Ch. 3 viewing area 

Most people infected do not develop symptoms but others experience fever, headache, body aches, vomiting or a rash. 

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