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Dane County resident is Wisconsin’s 1st confirmed case of West Nile virus

August 19, 2018

A Dane County resident has contracted the West Nile virus, the first confirmed Wisconsin case of the mosquito-borne disease this year, state and local health officials said.

While the majority of confirmed cases occur in August and September, the risk of contracting West Nile virus or other mosquito-borne illnesses is present anytime mosquitoes are active. Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Public Health Madison & Dane County are cautioning citizens to remain vigilant.

In 2017, 51 human cases of West Nile virus were reported in Wisconsin, the highest number since 2012. Eight of those cases occurred in Dane County, the highest number ever reported in the county.

Most people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. Those who do may experience fever, headache and rash that lasts a few days. In rare cases, however, the virus can cause severe disease with symptoms such as disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, inflammation of the brain or a coma.

Symptoms typically begin between three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. 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 West Nile virus other than to treat symptoms. If you think you have West Nile virus infection, contact your health-care provider.

To minimize your exposure and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes, officials recommend that you:

Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.Apply an insect repellent with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing.Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.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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