MADISON, Wisconsin (WMTV) – Six horses in northwest Wisconsin have tested positive for a rare virus since late July, confirming that mosquitoes exist in Wisconsin that could spread it to humans and other animals.
Eastern equine encephalitis, also known as EEE, is rare, with only three cases reported in humans between 1964 and 2019, according to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
The virus can spread to humans and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds. The virus cannot be transmitted from person to person or between animals and people.
The department noted that many people with electrical and electronic equipment don’t get sick, but those who do could develop encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. Effects of the virus include a fever, headache, chills, and vomiting. The press release also noted that in severe cases, people with the virus may experience disorientation, seizures, or a coma.
There is no specific treatment for electrical and electronic equipment, and the department said about 30% of people with inflammation of the brain die from the virus.
While the virus is rare in Wisconsin, the department warned that residents and visitors to the state should be vigilant to prevent mosquito bites. They listed some tips to help prevent people from getting mosquito bites, including limiting the time they spend outdoors in the morning and evening light, using insect repellants, and making sure windows and doors are intact.
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