Dead crow tests positive for West Nile virus in Racine County
Posted: Jul 14, 2015 6:00 PM CDT
A dead crow found in Racine County tested positive for West Nile virus according to the Central Racine County Health Department.
This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Racine County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1 of this year.
“The positive bird means that residents of Racine County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” Margaret Gesner, Health Officer said. West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds.
“Racine County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Gesner said. “The West Nile virus seems to be here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”
The Central Racine County Health Department recommends limited time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
In addition, the health department recommends applying insect repellant to clothing as well as exposed skin since mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
Less than 1% 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 Department of Health Services 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 2014, 6 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents.
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: