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Milwaukee mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 17:37:51-04

A group of mosquitoes has tested positive for West Nile virus in Milwaukee, marking the first appearance of the virus in the state this year.

The information comes from the Medical Entomology Lab at the University of Wisconsin.

"These positive mosquitoes are a reminder that West Nile virus may be present in areas around the state," said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers. "We urge everyone in Wisconsin to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and the illnesses they spread."

West Nile virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, and is transmitted from person to person.

Approximately 80% of people infected with WNV don't experience symptoms. The other 20% may experience fever, rash, headache fatigue and joint pain. People are likely to experience symptoms three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Although it is rare. WNV can cause severe disease leading to possible muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma.

The Department of Health Services and Milwaukee Health Department advise community members to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, including:

  • Apply insect repellent wwith DEET, IR 3535, Picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil to clothing and exposed skin
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Limit time outdoors when mosquitoes are active, normally at dusk and dawn
  • Remove stagnant water from flowerpots, plastic containers, gutters and downspouts to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. 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
  • Trim tall grass, weeds and vines
  • Report sick or dead birds to the Dead Bird Hotline at 1-800-433-1610
  • Mosquito-proof your home by fixing holes in screens, windows and doors

There have been no reported cases of infected humans in the state.

For more information visit the Department of Health Services website, and City of Milwaukee Health Department website.