Laurel woman victim of West Nile virus, daughter says

The Baltimore VA Medical Center confirmed Wednesday morning that Dorothy Mount, a 94-year-old Laurel resident who died last week, was a victim of the West Nile virus, according to her daughter, Japonette Mount.

Dorothy Mount died Sept. 8 at the age of 94 after being admitted into the emergency room of the Baltimore VA Medical Center on Sept. 5, her daughter said. Hospital officials believed she had contracted meningitis or the West Nile Virus, but did not receive test results until this week.

Mount's death is the second West Nile fatality in Maryland this year. On Tuesday, state health officials reported that an unidentified older adult who lived in Baltimore County also died on Sept. 8 as a result of West Nile virus.

The West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted through bites from infected mosquitoes and, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 1 in 150 of people infected develop severe symptoms, including high fever, headache, tremors, vision loss, and paralysis. About 80 percent will not show any symptoms at all.

Health officials say the disease is more likely to affect the elderly and the very young. As of Sept. 8, there had been 15 West Nile deaths in the United States this year, according to CDC records.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has sprayed various areas of Laurel for mosquito control seven times since the beginning of the summer, said City of Laurel spokeswoman Audrey Barnes. The agency accepts and responds to Laurel residents' mosquito complaints through Laurel's Department of Public Works, she added.

MDA officials told Barnes that Mount's neighborhood, Fairlawn, was sprayed for mosquito abatement twice recently, on Aug. 9 and Aug. 30. 

Officials from the agency will return to Mount's neighborhood to collect mosquitoes and test them for West Nile virus to narrow down the locations where Mount might have been infected, Barnes said. The MDA will also perform further abatement spraying in the area.

Born in Johnstown, Pa., in 1921, Dorothy "Dottie" Mount had six brothers and worked as a seamstress before serving in the Navy during World War II. After returning to civilian life, she married Vance Mount in Washington, D.C., in 1954 and moved to Laurel in the same year. She operated a daycare from her home in the Fairlawn neighborhood of Laurel, where she continued to live until her death.

"It was hard, because it was so sudden and so fast," said Mount's daughter, Japonette. "But she had a great life, and I lived with her for 2 1/2 years, so I got to say everything I needed to say."

Mount is survived by her children, S. Japonette Mount, Sharon Addairo, Gary Mount and George Mount; her grandchildren, Christopher Lloyd Mount, Matthew Jay Mount, Gina Danielle Addario and James Anthony Addario; and her great-grandchildren, Olivia Rose Dowdy, Colton Michael Dowdy and Kelsey Linkous Dowdy.

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