2 animals test positive for West Nile Virus in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Friday, Sept. 2, two animals have tested positive for West Nile Virus. 

Officials say a bird from Milwaukee County and a horse from Trempealeau County are the first reported WNV infections in the state. 

No human cases of WNV have been reported yet in 2022.

The presence of animals with WNV confirms that there are mosquitoes infected with WNV in the state that can transmit the virus to people and other animals.

"These cases are a reminder of the importance of taking precautions to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and the viruses they carry, which poses a risk to all Wisconsinites, especially to those who have weakened immune systems," said State Health Officer Paula Tran. “By wearing insect repellent and eliminating standing water around our homes where mosquitos breed, we can help protect ourselves and our neighbors.”

WNV is spread to humans, horses, birds, and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire WNV by feeding on infected birds. The virus is not spread directly from person to person, animal to animal, or animal to person.

According to the health department, most people (80%) who are infected with WNV do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue.

The best way to avoid illnesses spread by mosquitoes is to reduce exposure to mosquitoes and eliminate mosquito breeding sites. Mosquito activity and the risk of WNV will continue through the rest of the summer until there is a hard frost (temperatures below 28 degrees for at least four consecutive hours). 

For more information, and tips to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites, CLICK HERE

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