Jeramey Jannene

West Nile Virus Found in Milwaukee

Be extra vigilant about avoiding mosquitos.

By - Aug 2nd, 2023 06:55 am
Mosquito. (Pixabay License)

Mosquito. (Pixabay License)

Milwaukee area residents should be extra careful to avoid being bit by mosquitos this year.

The Milwaukee Health Department‘s mosquito surveillance program identified mosquitos from the city of Milwaukee and North Shore suburbs that tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

“Though there have not been any confirmed human cases of West Nile virus yet this year, the positive mosquitoes mean that Milwaukee residents need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent bites,” said Health Commissioner Michael Totoraitis in a press release announcing the finding.

Public health departments in Wisconsin have monitored the mosquito population for the virus, which spreads from infected birds to mosquitos to humans, since 2001.

“Most people (80%) who are infected with WNV do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue. However, some people (less than 1%) who become infected with the virus get seriously ill with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis, and coma,” said MHD. “Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of developing severe illness that can be fatal. It is important that people contact a healthcare provider if they suspect they have WNV illness.”

Recovery can take several weeks to months.

An average of 17 Wisconsin cases are reported annually, with cases peaking in August and September.

WNV does not spread directly from person to person nor animal to animal, but instead spreads via mosquito bites.

MHD advises individuals to avoid areas of stagnant water where mosquitos breed, wear protective spray or long sleeves and pants when outside, install and maintain screens in windows and to consider rescheduling early morning or evening outdoor activities when mosquitos are most likely to bite.

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Categories: Health

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