How to protect yourself from West Nile virus - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

How to protect yourself from West Nile virus

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MERRILL (WAOW) -

One case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in our state.

It's a deadly mosquito-borne virus, that experts say tested positive in dead birds in Wisconsin.

Health officials say you're more at risk for catching the virus now, in mid-August, and there's no treatment for it. But many we spoke with say the virus isn't going to stop them from going outside.

"I can't let those kind of things bother me when I'm trying to enjoy the outdoors," said Kim Licitar.

Kim Licitar and Bill Yakich have set up camp at Council Grounds State Park in Merrill every year, for more than 12 years. They say this year is no different, even though one case of West Nile virus has been confirmed.

"It hasn't really entered my mind this year because it's been such a dry season," said Licitar.

Health experts say the virus is transmitted when a mosquito bites an infected bird, and then bites a human. They also say now is a common time for mosquitos to come out.


"The cases start showing up in the mid-August time frame and the mosquito population is at it's highest," said Rhonda Bartelt.

But Merrill nurse Rhonda Bartelt says most people aren't seriously affected by the virus.
 
"80 percent of people who actually have the virus don't have any symptoms, 20 percent will have very mild symptoms, and less than 1 percent of people will have a serious condition," said Bartelt.

But with so much to do outside, how can you best protect yourself? Bartelt says, of course wear repellant and long clothing, but also be aware of what's around you.

"Avoid mosquito infestations in your yard such as in an unused swimming pool with water that has been left unattended or even in bird baths that have been sitting and that water has not replaced or replenished or freshened," said Bartelt.

Which is why Kim Licitar and Bill Yakich say they're trying to be careful, so they can keep up their camping tradition.

If you think you have West Nile virus, or want to learn more about it visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factsheet.htm

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