Waukesha County bird tests positive for West Nile virus

Crow in town of Genesee is first confirmed case in 2018

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Late summer and fall are prime times for disease-carrying mosquitoes, so experts recommend people take precautions for themselves and their pets and livestock. Mosquitoes can transmit a variety of illnesses to people and animals, including West Nile virus.

TOWN OF GENESEE - A crow has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first confirmed case of the disease in birds found in Waukesha in 2018. 

The bird was tested as part of the mosquito and WNV surveillance, prevention and control program that began May 1.

WNV can spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. About 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV do not get sick. Those who become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, or rash. Fewer than 1 percent of those infected with the virus get seriously ill, according to a news release from the county.

“Residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said Sarah Ward, environmental health manager with the Waukesha County Environmental Health Division. “The best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”

Simple steps to protect against West Nile Virus:

  • Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Apply an insect repellant with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
  • Properly dispose of items around your property that hold water
  • Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days.
  • Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
  • Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines. Mosquitoes rest in these areas in hot daylight hours.
  • Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.

The Waukesha County Environmental Health Division, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, will continue WNV surveillance until the end of the mosquito season. Now that a positive result has been identified in the county, testing will be discontinued. To report a sick or dead crow, blue jay, or raven, call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 800-433-1610.