First human case of West Nile Virus for 2018 identified in Milwaukee

First human case of West Nile Virus for 2018 identified in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) has identified the first probable human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year. The health department is advising residents to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

“Although summer is winding down, it is important that residents remain vigilant about preventing mosquito bites,” said Commissioner of Health Jeanette Kowalik “The risk of getting WNV is present anytime that mosquitos are active.”

According to the Milwaukee Health Department, most West Nile Virus human cases in Wisconsin occur during the months of August and September. Symptoms include: fever, rash, headache and joint pain. The chances of a person contracting West Nile Virus are low and most people infected will not have any symptoms.

Symptoms may begin between three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In rare cases, West Nile Virus can cause severe disease with symptoms such as muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk of severe disease from the virus.

West Nile Virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and is not transmitted person to person.

The Milwaukee Health Department reminds individuals to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, including:

  • Limiting time outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.
  • Applying an insect repellant with DEET, IR 3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothing as well as exposed skin.
  • Preventing mosquitos from breeding by removing stagnant water from areas such as flowerpots, plastic containers, gutters and downspouts. Water in birdbaths and pet dishes should be changed at least every three days. Swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs should be cleaned and chlorinated.
  • Trimming tall grass, weeds, and vines as mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours, and landscaping to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.
  • Mosquito-proofing your home by fixing holes in screens, windows, and doors.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus other than to treat symptoms. If you think you have West Nile virus infection, contact your healthcare provider.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit