Two birds test positive for West Nile virus in SE Wisconsin
Two dead birds have tested positive for West Nile virus, one in Kenosha County and one in the North Shore, according to the respective health departments. This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Kenosha County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.
“The positive bird means that residents of Kenosha County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” according to Cynthia Johnson, Health Officer/ Public Health Director. West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds.
“Kenosha County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Ms. Johnson said. “The West Nile virus seems to be here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”
The majority of people (80%) who are infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue.
Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis, and coma.
During 2002, Wisconsin documented its first human infections and 52 cases were reported that year. During 2014, 6 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents. West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported from June through October; however, most reported becoming ill with West Nile virus in August and September.
A mosquito tested positive for West Nile virus in Milwaukee County last week.