First human West Nile case reported in Umatilla County

A Hermiston man is recovering at home from the illness, an official said.

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A middle-aged man in Hermiston has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first reported human case reported in Umatilla County this year, officials said today.

The man is at home and recovering, noted Genni Lehnert, administrator of Umatilla County Public Health.

"The western half of the county has reported many positive mosquito pools, a horse, and a crow. It was only a matter of time before a human case presented itself," Lehnert said. "The most important precautions an individual can take to prevent West Nile virus is to protect themselves from being bitten by a mosquito."

The diseases is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite from a mosquito infected by feeding on an infected bird. The risk of serious illness to most people is low, she added.

Lehnert urged residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites with the following advice:

About 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms, up to 20 percent who become infected will display symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. Less than one percent of victims will develop severe illness that can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

The public is strongly encouraged to report dead birds to West Umatilla Vector Control District at 541-567-5201.

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