Mosquitoes capable of carrying the Zika virus have been found in Waukesha County, according to the county’s Department of Health and Human Services.
The department said the risk of getting Zika has not increased, but the specific species of mosquito found is one that could carry the virus.
In a news release, the department said the Aedes albopictus, which was found in Wisconsin, can transmit the virus. However, the Aedes aegypti, the primary species that carries Zika, has not been found in Wisconsin or any neighboring states.
“The detection of the Aedes albopictus mosquito in Waukesha County is not a cause for alarm,” said Ben Jones, Waukesha County Public Health Officer, in the release. “Several nearby states also have small numbers of these mosquitoes, where Zika virus has not been locally spread. However, we want to remind residents to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Other serious diseases, including West Nile Virus, are spread by mosquitoes in our state.”
The department said provided a list of ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes to minimize exposed skin.
- Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent on any exposed skin and apply it according to the label instructions.
- Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spray clothes with a repellent containing permethrin or DEET to give extra protection. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning and/or screened-in windows.
- Prevent standing water in your yard by disposing discarded cans, plastic containers, or tires; draining standing water from pool or hot tub covers; turning over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use; keeping drains, ditches and culverts and gutters clean of trash, weeds and debris to ensure they drain properly.
More information is available on the department’s website.