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Yakima County reports first human case of West Nile virus for 2012

YAKIMA - A man in his 30s is the first human case of the West Nile virus in Yakima County this year.

That's according to the Yakima Health District, which reported the case last Friday.

The man became ill during the last week of August, county health officials stated, and was diagnosed during a brief hospitalization in a Yakima county hospital.

The man was later released in good condition.

Yakima Health District officials note this case is not an isolated occurrence and anticipate more cases will be reported in the coming weeks and months as overnight freezes occur in October and November.

The virus commonly causes fever, headache, body aches, occasionally a rash and less often nervous system problems such as confusion or weakness.

The virus is most commonly spread by mosquitoes who carry the virus from one animal to another. Officials estimate one in five people bitten by an infected mosquito actually become ill and about 1 percent of those develop severe nervous system problems.

Though there is no specific treatment, the vast majority of patients with the virus recover fully.

Since no human vaccine for the virus exists, county health officials recommend the following steps:

- Make sure windows and doors are "bug tight." Repair and replace screens.

- Stay indoors at dawn and dusk, if possible, when mosquitoes are the most active.

- Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a hat when going into mosquito-infected areas such as wetlands or woods.

- Use mosquito repellant.

The public is also urged not to give mosquitoes a "home," by removing areas of standing water from around their homes.

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