‘Prevent mosquito bites:’ Crow tests positive for West Nile virus in Jefferson County

Culex pipiens mosquito, this species is an important vector in West Nile Virus.

JEFFERSON COUNTY –A crow found in Jefferson County on Aug. 5 tested positive for West Nile virus. This was the first bird to test positive for West Nile virus in Jefferson County since monitoring began May 1, officials said.

“The positive bird means that residents of Jefferson County need to be more careful to prevent mosquito bites,” said Gail Scott, director of the Jefferson County Health Department.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services have monitored the spread of West Nile virus since 2001 among wild birds, horses, mosquitoes, and people. During 2002, the first human infections were documented, and 52 cases were reported that year. During 2018, 33 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents.

West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported from June through October; however, most reported becoming ill with West Nile virus in August and September.

“Jefferson County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Scott said. “West Nile virus is here to stay. The best way to protect yourself is to reduce contact with mosquitoes and get rid of areas where they breed.”

The Jefferson County Health Department recommended the following:

  • 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 intact to prevent mosquitoes from getting in.
  • Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by removing stagnant water from items around your property, such as tin cans, plastic containers, flower pots, discarded tires, roof gutters, and downspouts.
  • Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use.
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
  • Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas, and trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.

DHS 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, please call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.

For more information on West Nile virus, CLICK HERE.

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