Sheboygan County resident is first human West Nile patient in 2022

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 4:06 PM CDT
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SHEBOYGAN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s nearly the end of September, but Wisconsin health officials identified the first case of West Nile virus in a human this year.

The first case is a person living in Sheboygan County. The Department of Health Services didn’t provide any further information about them.

Mosquitoes are still active despite the cooler temperatures this week. The DHS says people should remain vigilant and take the usual steps to avoid mosquito bites until the first hard frost when temperatures drop below 28 degrees. That advice includes:

  • Using insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks outdoors
  • Reschedule outdoor activities to avoid evening or early morning hours, when mosquitoes are most active
  • Make sure window and door screens are intact to prevent mosquitoes from getting into your home
  • Trim or mow tall grass, weeds and vines where mosquitoes rest during hot, daylight hours.

It’s estimated 80% of people infected with West Nile virus don’t get sick or have mild symptoms that are easily mistaken for something else, including headache, muscle ache, fever, fatigue, or a rash. However, in 1% of cases it can lead to a serious infection including high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, confusion, tremors, paralysis and coma. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable.

West Nile Virus was first detected in Wisconsin 20 years ago. Since then, human infections have been reported from June through October, with most people reporting illnesses in August and September.

West Nile virus was also confirmed in two horses and a bird in Trempealeau, Monroe and Milwaukee counties.