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City of Milwaukee confirms first human case of West Nile Virus of the year

Posted at 10:26 AM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 09:35:04-04

MILWAUKEE – The City of Milwaukee Health Department has identified the first probable human case of West Nile Virus this year.

The health department is advising residents to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

“Although summer is winding down, it is important that residents remain vigilant about preventing mosquito bites,” said Commissioner of Health Jeanette Kowalik  in a news release.“The risk of getting WNV is present anytime that mosquitos are active.”

 According to the Milwaukee Health Department, most West Nile human cases in Wisconsin occur during the months of August and September. Symptoms of WNV include: fever, rash, headache and joint pain. The chances of a person contracting WNV are low and most people infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. Symptoms may begin between three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In rare cases, WNV can cause severe disease with symptoms such as muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk of severe disease from the virus.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus other than to treat symptoms. If you think you have West Nile virus infection, contact your healthcare provider.

WNV is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and is not transmitted person to person. The MHD reminds individuals to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, including:

  • Limiting time outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active. 
  • Applying an insect repellant with DEET, IR 3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothing as well as exposed skin.
  • Preventing mosquitos from breeding by removing stagnant water from areas such as flowerpots, plastic containers, gutters and downspouts. Water in birdbaths and pet dishes should be changed at least every three days. Swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs should be cleaned and chlorinated.
  • Trimming tall grass, weeds, and vines as mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours, and landscaping to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.
  • Mosquito-proofing your home by fixing holes in screens, windows, and doors.

For more information on West Nile virus, click here.