FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2014
CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, (608)
STATE REPORTS FIRST HUMAN WEST NILE VIRUS CASE THIS YEAR
First Human Case Occurred in Ashland County
MADISON—State and local health officials announced today that the first
human case of West Nile virus (WNV) was reported in an Ashland 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
this year. During 2013, 21 Wisconsin residents developed symptomatic WNV
infection and two patients died from complications related to WNV
Officials also confirmed that 20 dead birds statewide have tested
positive for WNV so far this season. The birds were found in 19 counties
throughout Wisconsin. 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, muscle and joint aches, nausea, vomiting,
rash, and fatigue that can last a few days. Symptoms usually 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 illness.
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection other than to treat
symptoms. If you think you have WNV infection, contact your health care
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 most active.
- 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 mosquito entry.
- Properly dispose of items that hold water, such as tin
cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or discarded tires to prevent
- 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 three days.
- 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
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Ashland County Health
and Human Services will continue surveillance activities for West Nile
virus. 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 through October.
For more information regarding West Nile virus in Wisconsin, visit:
For WNV information in Ashland County, call Ashland County Health and
Human Services at 715-682-7028, ext. 214.
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August 20, 2014