Greenfield woman's death may be linked to West Nile Virus

GREENFIELD -- The recent death of a Greenfield woman in her 70s may have been due to the West Nile Virus. That's the word from a release issued Friday, September 7th by the Greenfield Health Department.

Official confirmation linking this death, and another in the area, to the West Nile Virus is pending further testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

West Nile Virus is spread to people by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. In Wisconsin, West Nile Virus infections generally occur during warm weather months when mosquitoes are active. Anyone can get infected with West Nile Virus. Persons older than 50 are at an increased risk of severe disease from the virus.

Symptoms of West Nile typically occur three to 14 days after a West Nile Virus infected mosquito bites a person. Approximately 80% of people infected with West Nile Virus do not become ill. Most of the remaining 20% of infected people may experience a mild illness that can present with fever, headache, eye pain, muscle aches, joint pain, a rash on the trunk, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and vomiting. Less than 1% of people infected with West Nile Virus will become severely ill.

Symptoms of severe illness include extreme muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), paralysis and coma.

In rare cases the infection may be fatal, particularly in the elderly and people with other medical conditions.

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