Health and Science
Wed August 22, 2012
West Nile Virus Confirmed in Wis. Man
Wisconsin’s first human case of West Nile Virus in 2012 has been reported in Dodge County. Eighteen dead birds have also tested positive in other counties around the state.
Dodge County Public Health Officer Jody Langfeldt says a middle-aged man tested positive for West Nile Virus in June, but confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control was not available until this week. Langfeldt does not know how sick the man was from the virus, but says he has since been released from the hospital. She says many people who get West Nile do not even realize it. “A lot of them may be tested at some point in their life and will be positive for having had West Nile Virus and not even have known that they were ill.”
However, Langfeldt says there are target populations who could have serious health problems if they contract it. “People that have chronic medical problems, younger individuals and older individuals seem to be more at risk if they contract the virus.”
Information from the Department of Health Services states 18 dead birds from around the state have tested positive West Nile Virus. They were found in Barron, Brown, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Oneida, Portage, Rock, Sheboygan and Winnebago Counties.
According to Langfeldt, while West Nile Virus can be serious, most people do not need to worry. She explains, “I don’t think this is cause for alarm. I think this is cause for people to up their level of awareness and up their prevention activities for themselves and their families.”
Since it is a mosquito-borne disease, the Department of Health Services says the best ways to prevent West Nile Virus include using insect repellant, checking screens and doors for holes, and eliminating sources of standing, stagnant water where mosquitos can lay eggs.1