West Nile Virus Confirmed in the North Shore
With seven confirmed cases of West Nile in Milwaukee County, health officials are urging residents to protect themselves from the disease and from mosquitoes.
The West Nile Virus is flying around the North Shore, and area residents should take extra precaution to be sure the virus doesn't spread to people.
"The North Shore Health Department has found West Nile Virus in our communities, as we sent in one dead crow for West Nile Virus testing, which came back positive," Jamie Berg, health officer for the North Shore Health Department said Wednesday.
West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds.
In Milwaukee County, seven people have contracted the West Nile Virus, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services advised on Wednesday. The virus has also been confirmed through testing a crow in the North Shore according to the North Shore Health Department.
Two people in Waukesha County have also contracted the disease.
The update from the state health department comes a day after county officials warned the community that three crows in Waukesha County were confirmed to have the virus that is carried by mosquitoes.
The three birds testing positive for the West Nile Virus were found in Waukesha County.
The North Shore Health Department recommends the following:
- Use effective mosquito repellant and apply according to the label instructions.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.
- Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with a repellent containing permethrin or DEET will give extra protection. These repellants are the most effective and most studied.
- Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, specifically around dawn and dusk.
- Keep window screens repaired so that mosquitoes cannot enter your home.
- Dispose of discarded tires, cans, or plastic containers left outside that may contain standing water.
- Drain standing water from pool or hot tub covers.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheel barrows when not in use.
- Change the water in bird baths, pet dishes and wading pools every 3-4 days.
- Keep drains, ditches and culverts clean of trash and weeds so water will drain properly.
- Clean gutters to ensure they drain properly.
"About 20 percent of infected people have mild to moderate symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, rash and swollen glands," Berg said. "Less than 1 percent become severely ill with the same symptoms and additionally neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, or paralysis."
It can take between five to 15 days for symptoms to begin after being bitten, and most people do not become seriously ill she said.
However, Kane County, IL, has recently experienced two severe West Nile Virus-related cases. A 16-year-old girl has recovered, but a 64-year-old Illinois man died from the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in August that reported cases of West Nile Virus are at an all-time high.
“The 2,118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999,” the CDC reported.