West Nile virus found in Marathon County - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

West Nile virus found in Marathon County

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - Two dead crows in Marathon County have tested positive for the mosquito-transmitted West Nile virus, health officials said Tuesday.

The birds were found in Weston on June 30, meaning people need to be more vigilant in protecting themselves against mosquito bites, said Ruth Marx of the Marathon County Health Department.

"We have had at least one positive every year. We know it has been here for a while," she said.

There have been two cases of the disease in humans in Marathon County since 2008, Marx said.

About 80 percent of people who are infected with the West Nile virus do not get sick, the epidemiologist said.

Those who do get ill usually experience mild symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash and fatigue, the health expert said.

So far in Wisconsin this year, birds in nine counties have tested positive for West Nile, according to the state Department of Health.

There has been one “probable case” of a human being infected with the disease this summer but it is awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Marx said.

The state said 22 cases of West Nile virus infections in people were reported last year.

Health experts say among the ways to avoid the West Nile virus is to limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, apply insect repellant to clothing as well as exposed skin and change water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every three days.

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