A crow found in Jefferson County Aug. 5, has tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the first bird to test positive for West Nile virus in Jefferson County since the county started monitoring for West Nile virus on May 1.

“The positive bird means that residents of Jefferson County need to be more careful to prevent mosquito bites,” Gail Scott, Director/Health Officer said.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds.

Most people (80%) who are infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually have mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue. Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, 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 lead to death.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has monitored the spread of West Nile virus since 2001 among wild birds, horses, mosquitoes, and people. During 2002, the state documented its first human infections and 52 cases were reported that year. During 2018, 33 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents. West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported from June through October; however, most reported becoming ill with West Nile virus in August and September.

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