The Oneida County Health Department reports that a dead crow found in Oneida County July 8, 2013, has tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Oneida County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.
“The positive bird means that residents of Oneida County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” Linda Conlon, Health Officer/ Public Health Director, said.
West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds.
The Oneida County Health Department recommends the following:
• Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Apply insect repellant to clothing as well as exposed skin, since mosquitoes can bite through clothing.
• Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
• Properly dispose of items that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or discarded tires.
• Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
• 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.
• Trim tall grass, weeds and vines, since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
• Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.
About 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash and fatigue. Less than 1 percent of people infected with the virus get seriously ill with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis and coma. Adults ages 50 and over, and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of developing central nervous system illness that can be fatal.
The Wisconsin Division of Public Health will continue surveillance for West Nile virus until the end of the mosquito season. To report a sick or dead crow, blue jay or raven, call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at (800) 433-1610.
For more information on West Nile virus, log on to www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/ArboviralDiseases/WestNileVirus/Index.htm.