The West Nile Virus (WNV) has been reported in Chippewa County after a crow tested positive, according to the Chippewa County Health Department. Monitoring for the virus began in May.
The virus has been reported this year in eleven counties in Wisconsin, all in birds or mosquito pools. The majority of those counties are in the southeastern part of the state with Washburn and Chippewa counties in the northwest. Monitoring the virus in Wisconsin by the Department of Health Services began in 2001 with first infections reported in humans in 2002.
Around 80 percent of people infected will never experience symptoms, which according to the DHS include fever, headache, muscle pains, and skin rash. Severe symptoms are rare.
West Nile is transmitted by an infected mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on birds that are carrying the virus and pass it on to humans.
Eliminating mosquito breeding grounds and taking other measures to avoid a bite help avoid transmission in humans. Dead birds can be reported to the hotline at 1-800-433-1610.
For West Nile Virus prevention, the DHS recommends using an effective mosquito repellent, limiting exposed skin through long-sleeved shirts and by wearing socks, avoid the outdoors around dawn and dusk during high mosquito activity, drain standing water from covers and containers, change bird bath water every few days, and keep gutters and ditches clean for proper drainage.
More information on the West Nile Virus in Wisconsin can be found at the DHS website at this link: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/arboviral/westnilevirus.htm