First human West Nile virus case diagnosed in Dane County

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MADISON (WITI) — State and local health officials announced on Monday, July 22nd 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 County residents.

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 provider.

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, CLICK HERE.