Help Needed to Detect West Nile Virus

Friday, June 1, 2018 | Submitted by Laura Sauve |


Public Health needs your help identifying birds that may have died from the West Nile Virus (WNV).  Mosquitos spread the WNV to humans and birds in our area.  One way we check if the disease is in our community is by watching for and testing dead crows, ravens, or blue jays.

If you see a dead crow, raven, or blue jay please call the dead bird reporting hotline at: 1-800-433-1610. They will ask the location of the bird and type of bird. You may be asked to contact your local public health office to arrange for testing of the bird.

Barron County had one human case of WNV in 2017.  About 80% of people with WNV do not become ill. Most of the remaining, about 20%, experience a mild illness with fever, headache, eye pain, muscle aches, joint pain, a rash on the trunk, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and vomiting. Less than 1% of people infected with West Nile virus will become severely ill. Symptoms of severe illness include extreme muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), paralysis, and coma. In rare cases the infection may be fatal, particularly in the elderly and people with other medical conditions.

Mosquitos spread WNV.  It is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • Use effective mosquito repellant and apply according to the label instructions.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.
  • Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with a repellent containing permethrin or DEET will give extra protection. These repellants are the most effective and most studied.
  • Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, specifically around dawn and dusk.
  • Keep window screens repaired so that mosquitoes cannot enter your home.
  • * Dispose of discarded tires, cans, or plastic containers left outside that may contain standing water.
  • Drain standing water from pool or hot tub covers.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheel barrows when not in use.
  • Change the water in bird baths, pet dishes and wading pools every 3-4 days.
  • Keep drains, ditches and culverts clean of trash and weeds so water will drain properly.
  • Clean gutters to ensure they drain properly.

Please contact public health with any questions at 715-537-5691, ext 6442.



Share This Article