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Tulare man has West Nile virus

A 47-year-old Tulare County man has become the first person in California to test positive for West Nile virus this year, state health officials announced late Wednesday.

The California case is only the second reported in the nation for 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. A Kansas man died from the disease one week ago.

The Tulare County man sought medical care for fever and headache in early June and is recovering, according to the state Department of Health Services.

So far this year, the virus has been detected in 34 of the state's 58 counties, mostly in dead birds. Last year, the state logged 830 human cases of the disease, including 28 deaths.

Citing the region's mild winter, excessive rainfall and warm weather, state health officials have predicted that the virus will hit the Central Valley hard this year.

West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.

Eighty percent of people infected will not experience any symptoms, which include headache, fever and muscle aches. Only 1 percent of those infected will experience the most serious consequences of the illness, including encephalitis or meningitis.

Health officials are urging California residents to take precautions against mosquito bites, including wearing insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus; eliminating sources of standing water; and keeping doors and windows well-screened.

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