‘Residents should be aware:’ Crow tests positive for West Nile virus in Waukesha County

WAUKESHA — The Waukesha County Environmental Health Division has been notified of the first confirmed case of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in birds found in the county this year.

According to a press release, a crow in the Town of Genesee tested positive for the virus as part of the mosquito and West Nile Virus surveillance, prevention and control program that began May 1.

West Nile Virus can spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people (80%) who are infected with West Nile Virus do not get sick. Those who become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, or rash. Less than 1% of people get seriously ill.

“Residents should be aware of West Nile Virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said Sarah Ward, Environmental Health Manager. “The best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”

Simple steps to protect against West Nile Virus:

  •  Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Apply an insect repellant with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
  • Properly dispose of items around your property that hold water
  • Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days.
  •  Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
  • Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines. Mosquitoes rest in these areas in hot daylight hours.
  • Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.

The Waukesha County Environmental Health Division, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, will continue WNV surveillance until the end of the mosquito season. Now that a positive result has been identified in the County, testing will be discontinued. To report a sick or dead crow, blue jay, or raven, call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.