The Dunn County Health Department reports that a horse in Dunn County has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) which is transmitted by mosquitoes. This is the first documented WNV activity in the state this year. No WNV cases in humans have been reported in Wisconsin thus far in 2023. How is WNV spread? WNV virus is spread to humans, horses, and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get WNV virus by feeding on infected birds. The virus is not spread from person to person or directly between animals or between animals and humans. Presence of a WNV positive horse confirms that there are mosquitoes in the area infected with the West Nile virus that can spread the virus to people and other animals. Risk of WNV transmission from mosquitoes will continue to increase in the next several weeks and usually peaks in August and September. On average, 17 people are reported to be infected with WNV each year in Wisconsin. Many people (80%) infected with the West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill may develop mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, rash, and tiredness or fatigue. However, less than 1% of people who become infected with WNV get seriously ill with symptoms of high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, paralysis, and coma. There is no specific treatment for WNV illness. It is important that people contact a healthcare provider if they suspect they have WNV illness. How do you protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites? Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.Before going outside, apply permethrin to clothes; do not apply permethrin directly to skin.Apply an insect repellant with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing. Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.Make sure window and door screens are in good condition to prevent mosquito entry. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by removing stagnant water from items around your property, such as tin cans, plastic containers, flowerpots, discarded tires, roof gutters, and downspouts. Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use. Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every three days. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers. Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas, and trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours. For more information about WNV virus, please visit: For more information about mosquito bite prevention, please visit:

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