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MILWAUKEE, WI — Authorities in Wisconsin say that mosquito season isn’t done yet, and that the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed in Northeastern Wisconsin. With heavy rain and some seasonal temperatures ahead, health officials are warning the public to continue to be vigilant about preventing mosquito bites.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin had 33 probable and confirmed cases of West Nile virus in 2018. Since 2002, on average, 19 cases of West Nile virus are reported each year.
Wisconsin health officials say the chances of a person contracting West Nile Virus are very low, and most people infected will not get sick. Those who do become ill may develop a fever, headache, and rash that lasts a few days.
Symptoms typically begin between three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In rare cases, it can cause severe disease with symptoms such as disorientation, tremors, paralysis, inflammation of the brain, and coma. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of severe disease from the virus.
There is no specific treatment for WNV other than to treat symptoms, health officials say. Although few mosquitoes actually carry the virus, there are several things you can do to reduce contact with mosquitoes and to get rid of areas where they breed.
DHS recommends the following:
- Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply an insect repellant with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing.
- Make sure window and door screens are intact to prevent mosquitoes from getting into your home.
- Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by removing stagnant water from items around your property, such as tin cans, plastic containers, flower pots, discarded tires, roof gutters, and downspouts.
- Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use.
- Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
- Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas, and trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
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