MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Six horses in northwestern Wisconsin have tested positive for a rare virus since late July, confirming there are mosquitoes in Wisconsin that could spread it to humans and other animals.
According to a news release from the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services, the Eastern equine encephalitis, also known as EEE, is rare with only three human cases reported in the state between 1964-2019.
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 can not be spread person to person, or between animals and people.
The department advised that many people with EEE do not get sick, but those who do could develop encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Effects of the virus include fever, headache, chills and vomiting. The release continued to say that in severe cases those with the virus could experience disorientation, seizures or a coma.
There is no specific treatment for EEE and the department said that about 30% of people who have inflammation of the brain die from the virus.
While the virus is rare in Wisconsin, the department warned that residents and visitors of the state should be vigilant to prevent mosquito bites. They listed some tips to prevent people from getting mosquito bites, including limiting time spent outside at dawn and dusk, applying insect repellent and making sure windows and doors are intact.
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