The Kenosha County Division of Health reports a dead crow found in Kenosha County on July 31, 2018, has tested positive for West Nile virus.
This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Kenosha County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.
“The positive bird means that residents of Kenosha County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” said Cynthia Johnson, Kenosha County Health Officer/Public Health Director.
West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds.
“Kenosha County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Johnson said. “West Nile virus is here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”
The Kenosha County Division of Health recommends the following:
The majority of people (80 percent) who are 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. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of developing central nervous system illness that can be fatal.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has monitored the spread of West Nile virus since 2001 among wild birds, horses, mosquitoes, and people. During 2002, the state documented its first human infections and 52 cases were reported that year. During 2017, 51 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.
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, please visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/arboviral/westnilevirus.htm