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UPDATED: 1 Milwaukee County Death Linked to West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus cases increasing in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.

West Nile Virus is being attributed to the deaths of two southeastern Wisconsin residents – including one in Milwaukee County, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Waukesha County resident was above age 50 and died in late August, according to Julianne Klimetz of the Waukesha County executive’s office.

The fatality is considered a probable cause of West Nile Virus.

“It hasn’t been confirmed yet,” Klimetz said. “We don’t have the test results back.”

An additional seven people in Milwaukee County likely have the disease, according to state officials.

While three people in Waukesha County had probably contracted the virus. The two Waukesha county residents with probable cases that did not result in a fatality are recovering from the disease, according to Klimetz.

“They are doing well and feeling well,” she said.

The update from the state health department came 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.

As of last week, there was only one reported human case of West Nile Virus in Wisconsin. The incident was reported in Dodge County. The cases reported this week already outpace the entire state for 2011. Wisconsin had three West Nile Virus cases last year, and no reported deaths.

The last reported fatality in Wisconsin from West Nile Virus was in 2008.

The positive results also means that residents of Waukesha County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent 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, 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, states the news release.

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

However, Kane County, IL, has recently experienced A 16-year-old girl has recovered from the illness, 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.

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