FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2013
Jennifer Miller, Department of Health Services, (608)
Jeffrey Golden, Public Health - Madison and Dane County, (608)
STATE REPORTS FIRST HUMAN WEST NILE VIRUS CASE THIS YEAR
First Human Case Occurred in Dane County; Number of
Dead Birds Found with the Virus Increases
MADISON—State and local health officials announced today that the first
human case of West Nile virus (WNV) was diagnosed in a Dane County
resident. Health officials are reminding people to protect themselves
against mosquito bites.
This is the first case of human WNV illness reported in the state
during 2013. During 2012, 57 Wisconsin residents developed symptomatic
WNV infection, and five of these reported cases occurred among Dane
Officials also confirmed that statewide, 10 dead birds have tested
positive for WNV so far this season. The birds were found in nine
counties: Chippewa, Dunn, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Oneida, Rock, Vilas,
Washington, and Wood. Infected birds serve as an early warning by
indicating that WNV is present in an area, underscoring the need for
residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
The likelihood of contracting WNV infection is low and most people
infected with the virus will not have symptoms. Those who do become ill
may develop a fever, headache, rash, muscle and joint aches, nausea,
vomiting and fatigue that can last a few days. Symptoms may begin three
to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In rare cases,
WNV can cause severe disease including encephalitis and meningitis.
Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck,
disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and
coma. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at an
increased risk of severe disease caused by the virus.
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection other than to treat
symptoms. If you think you have WNV infection, contact your healthcare
WNV is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and
is not transmitted person to person. Although few mosquitoes actually
carry the virus, it is important to take steps to minimize your exposure
during mosquito season:
- Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are
- Apply insect repellant to clothing as well as exposed skin
because mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
- Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent
- Properly dispose of items that hold water, such as tin cans,
plastic containers, ceramic pots or discarded tires to prevent
mosquito breeding. Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats and
canoes when not in use.
- Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
- Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot
tubs; drain water from pool covers.
- Trim tall grass, weeds and vines because mosquitoes use these
areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
- Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.
The Department of Health Services and Public Health – Madison and
Dane County will continue surveillance activities for West Nile virus in
dead birds until October. As part of the surveillance effort, residents
are encouraged to report sick or dead crows, blue jays and ravens to the
Dead Bird Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.
For more information regarding West Nile virus in Wisconsin, visit:
For WNV information in Dane County, call Public Health – Madison and
Dane County at (608) 266-4821.
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July 25, 2013