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GREEN BAY - Brown County health officials are urging residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites, after a dead bird tested positive Wednesday for the West Nile virus.

Humans can contract the virus via a bite from a mosquito that has also bitten an infected bird.

Health officials didn't say where the bird was found, but said it was the first to test positive for the virus in the county this year.

Less than one percent of people infected with the virus get seriously ill; symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis, and coma. The virus can kill older adults and people with compromised immune systems. 

RELATED: Learn more about West Nile

About 80 percent of people infected with West Nile do not get sick. For those who do, symptoms typically include mild fever, headache, muscle ache, rash and fatigue.

West Nile infections in humans have been reported from June through October. Most illnesses happen in August and September.

Health officials recommend that people:

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

»Apply insect repellent to clothing and exposed skin, since mosquitoes may bite through clothes. 

»Keep screens in good repair.

»Properly dispose of items that hold water: cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots and discarded tires.

»Clean gutters and downspouts.

»Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats and canoes. 

»Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days. 

»Clean and chlorinate pools, saunas and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.

»Trim grass, weeds and vines. Mosquitoes rest there during the day. 

»Landscape to prevent water from pooling. 

»If you find a sick or dead crow, blue jay or raven, call Wisconsin's Dead Bird Reporting Hotline, (800) 433-1610.

West Nile has been found in birds this year in at least five counties in southern Wisconsin.

Last year, 51 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents, officials said.

 

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