West Nile Virus Discovered in Milwaukee, Health Department Says

MILWAUKEE — West Nile Virus has been detected in Milwaukee, according to the City of Milwaukee Health Department. Mosquitoes collected from the city and the North Shore tested positive for the virus.

According to the Ministry of Health, these are the first mosquitoes that have tested positive in the area since monitoring began in early July. There have been no confirmed cases of the disease in humans.

“Although there have not yet been any confirmed human cases of West Nile virus this year, the positive mosquitoes mean Milwaukee residents need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent bites,” said Dr. Mike Totoraitis, Milwaukee Health Commissioner.

The Department of Health said that 80% of people infected with West Nile Virus do not get sick. Those who do get sick, however, experience minor symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain and fatigue. Less than 1% become seriously ill with high fever, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors or even coma.

Here’s how to protect yourself from West Nile Virus, according to the Milwaukee Health Department:

Avoid mosquito bites

  • Apply an insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Before going outdoors, treat clothing with permethrin; do not apply permethrin directly to the skin.
  • Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during the evening or early morning hours when mosquitoes that spread WNV are most active.
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes off your skin.

Mosquito proof your home

  • Prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home by removing standing water from objects around your property.
    • Drain standing water that has collected in cans, plastic containers, flower pots, discarded tires, gutters and downspouts.
    • Turn wheelbarrows, wading pools, buckets and small boats such as canoes and kayaks over when not in use.
    • Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every three days.
    • Cleans and chlorinates swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs; drain the water from the pool cover.
  • Make sure window and door screens are intact and tight to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
  • Trim or cut tall grass, weeds and vines as mosquitoes use these areas to rest during the warm daylight hours.

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