Milwaukee health officials are reporting the appearance of the first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) this year, prompting a push to remind the public to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
“Although summer is winding down, it is important remain vigilant about preventing mosquito bites, said Commissioner of Health Jeannette Kowalik. “The risk of getting WNV is present anytime that mosquitoes are active”.
Most human WNV cases occur in Wisconsin during August and September.
West Nile virus is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause severe illness in people and horses, although only about 20 percent of those infected will develop any symptoms at all.
Those who do develop symptoms usually report fever, headache, body aches, and muscle weakness. Rarely, individuals might experience more severe symptoms including high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and/or encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. These severe cases can lead to paralysis or death, and usually occur in those over 50 years old.
As of September 4, 2018, a total of 45 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2018. Overall, 559 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 312 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 247 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.
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