Middle Tennessee reports first human case of West Nile virus
  
From Staff Reports

   The Tennessee Department of Health announced Friday the first human case of West Nile virus in middle Tennessee. A 69-year-old Putnam County man has tested positive for the virus and remains hospitalized, though his condition is improving.
   "The Department of Health continues to urge people to take steps to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes. Wear insect repellent containing DEET whenever you are outdoors, eliminate standing water around your home where mosquitoes are likely to breed, and wear long sleeves and pants or stay indoors when mosquitoes are most prevalent," said Dr. Fredia Wadley, Commissioner of Health.
   The new total of individuals infected with the virus is 24, ranging in age from 17 to 99, with four of those cases resulting in death. Other human cases have occurred in Gibson, Madison, Weakly, Haywood and Shelby counties.
   The number of positive birds and horses in Tennessee continues to escalate. West Nile virus was first seen this week in birds in Benton and Decatur counties, and in a horse in Fayette County. The number of positive birds is 442 among 43 counties, and there are 52 positive horses in 14 counties.
   According to Dr. Lyle Peterson of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, data suggests that the epidemic has peaked in the southern United States, although transmission is still ongoing.
   To date, there has been a total of 1,295 human cases of West Nile virus reported from 30 states, as well as 54 fatalities.