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Four Contract West Nile Virus in Milwaukee County

Health officials urge residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites as disease reaches an all-time high across the nation.

Four people have contracted the West Nile Virus in Milwaukee County, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services advised on Wednesday.

So far, the agency has not announced where in the county the cases were found.

Two people in Waukesha County have also contracted the disease.

The update from the state health department comes a day after county officials warned the community that to have the virus that is carried by mosquitoes.

The three birds were found last month in New Berlin, City of Pewaukee and the Town of Brookfield. Milwaukee and Racine counties have each had a bird test positive for the West Nile Virus.

The finding means that residents of Milwaukee County need to be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites, the news release said. West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds.

The recommends the following:

  • Maintain window screens in good repair to decrease indoor contact with mosquitoes
  • Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, specifically around dawn and dusk
  • Wear light-colored protective clothing such as long pants and loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, and tuck pants in socks when outdoors
  • When outdoors, consider using an effective mosquito repellant containing an active ingredient registered by the EPA, such as DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Do not provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes – remove containers, old tires and any objects where water can collect and mosquitoes can lay eggs

Eighty percent of people infected with West Nile Virus do not get sick, state health agency said.

Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache or rash. Fewer than 1 percent of people infected with the virus become seriously ill.

However, Kane County, IL, has recently experienced A 16-year-old girl has recovered, but a 64-year-old Illinois man died from the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in August that reported cases of West Nile Virus are at an all-time high.

“The 2,118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999,” the CDC reported.

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