If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Health (DHS), along with local health partners, continue to work on prevention and response plans in relation to the Zika virus, however, there is no sign of mosquitoes that could transmit the virus here in Wisconsin. Fewer than 20 people in Wisconsin have confirmed cases of Zika, and all of these people contracted the virus during recent travel to areas which do have mosquitoes that transmit the virus.
According to health officials, the two types of mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are not likely to make it as far north as Wisconsin, but DHS’ Division of Public Health (DPH) is actively collaborating with local health department partners to watch for them. DHS contracts with UW-Madison Medical Entomology Laboratory for the Mosquito Surveillance Project, monitoring and studying mosquito populations. To date, surveillance has not identified any of the mosquitoes that transmit Zika in Wisconsin.
DPH is also providing guidance to local health care partners on lab testing protocols for people who have traveled to Zika-affected areas, with a special focus on providing information to, and testing pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika virus. As of August 3, a total of 573 people have been tested in Wisconsin, resulting in 18 confirmed travel-related Zika virus cases. There are currently no cases, or suspected cases, of Zika virus contracted in Wisconsin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending pregnant women avoid travel to the Wynwood neighborhood near Miami, Florida. The Florida Department of Health has identified this neighborhood as an area where Zika has been spread by mosquitoes. Florida is currently the only state where locally-transmitted cases have been confirmed.
In April, Governor Scott Walker approved the addition of nine project positions in DPH to help with the response and prevention of outbreaks, including Elizabethkingia anophelis and also in anticipation of the presence of Zika.
The greatest threat from the Zika virus is to pregnant mothers, and their unborn babies. Zika can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, and may be associated with microcephaly (a medical condition in which the head is smaller than normal because the brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing).
Although rare, there have been reports that Zika virus can be spread through blood transfusion, sexual contact and laboratory exposure. Most people infected with Zika virus may not have any symptoms. Signs and symptoms may include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain or headache. Severe symptoms and fatalities are uncommon.
While the types of mosquitoes that transmit Zika have not been found here, mosquitoes in Wisconsin can spread West Nile virus, La Crosse encephalitis, and other illnesses. People should take precautions to prevent bites.