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West Nile virus found in dead bird in Appleton

Post Date:08/12/2015

The Appleton Health Department reports a dead crow found in the City on June 29 tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Outagamie County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.

“The positive bird means that residents of Appleton need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” said City of Appleton Health Officer Kurt Eggebrecht. 

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. So far there have been 14 reported cases of West Nile virus in birds in Wisconsin this year. There have not been any cases where people have contracted the virus. Still Eggebrecht says the community needs to take measures to limit the chances of being bit by mosquitos. 

“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 Appleton Health Department recommends the following: 

• Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. 

• Apply insect repellant to clothing and exposed skin since mosquitoes may bite through clothing.

• Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry. 

• Dispose of items that hold water, such as plastic containers or discarded tires. 

• Drain or eliminate areas where water can pool. 

• Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage. 

• 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. 

The majority of people 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 one 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 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, please call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610. 

For more information on West Nile virus:https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/arboviral/westnilevirus.htm 

Appleton Communications Coordinator Chad Doran can be reached at (920) 832-5814 or 

chad.doran@appleton.org.
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