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A bird and horse in Wisconsin have tested positive for West Nile virus

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Friday that no human cases of West Nile have been reported this year.
West Nile virus in Wisconsin
Posted at 1:31 PM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 14:31:02-04

MILWAUKEE — A bird from Milwaukee County and a horse from Trempealeau County have tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first reported infections in Wisconsin in 2022.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Friday that no human cases of West Nile have been reported this year. But health officials know that because of the reported cases in animals, mosquitoes have been infected with the virus and it could spread to humans.

Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds. The insects in turn spread the virus by biting other creatures. Most West Nile cases are spread during the summer and fall months. There is no vaccine for the virus, but most people who are infected do not feel sick, according to the CDC.

About one in five people with the virus get a fever and other symptoms and about one in 150 people develop serious and sometimes fatal symptoms. Using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants can prevent the spread of the West Nile virus, the CDC says.

Wisconsin Health Officer Paula Tran said in a statement Friday that "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."