NORTHEASTERN WIS. (WFRV) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) says they have confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus of the year in a resident in Northeastern Wisconsin.
DHS says the virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito and is not spread person to person.
Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on the infected birds.
The majority of human West Nile virus cases occur during August and September, according to officials.
DHS says the risk of contracting the virus, or any other mosquito-borne illnesses, is present any time mosquitoes are active.
“It is important for people to be vigilant about preventing mosquito bites throughout the rest of the summer and into early fall.”
Officials say the chance of a person contracting the virus are very low and most people infected with West Nile 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, West Nile 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.
DHS states there is no specific treatment for West Nile virus other than to treat the symptoms.
If you think you have a WNV infection or another illness spread by mosquitoes, DHS says to contact your health care provider. 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.
For more information on West Nile virus, click here.