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Milwaukee health officials are reporting the emergence of the first probable human case of the West Nile Virus (WNV) this year, causing a shock to remind the public to protect against mosquito bites.

Picture / frankok35
Picture / frankok35

"Although the summer is slowing down, it is important to remain vigilant to prevent mosquito bites," said Health Commissioner Jeannette Kowalik. "The risk of getting WNV is always present when mosquitoes are active".

Most human WNV cases occur in Wisconsin in August and September.

West Nile virus is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause serious illnesses in humans and horses, although only about 20 percent of those infected develop symptoms at all.

Those who develop symptoms usually report fever, headache, body aches and muscle weakness. In rare cases, people may experience more severe symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness, and / or encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. These serious cases can lead to paralysis or death and usually occur in over-50s.

As of September 4, 2018, a total of 45 states and the District of Columbia reported 2018 West Nile virus infections in humans, birds, or mosquitoes. Overall, 559 cases of West Nile virus disease in humans were reported to CDC. Of these, 312 (56%) were classified as a neuroinvasive disorder (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 247 (44%) were classified as a non-neuroinvasive disorder.


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