Outdoor camps step up protection for West Nile virus
WESTON (WAOW) -
Safety is top of mind after a bird tested positive for West Nile in Marathon County. The Marathon County Health Department confirmed two crows were found in Weston and tested positive for the virus.
Now, places like outdoor summer camps are becoming more proactive with their campers.
"We run weekly summer program the end of school until the start of the school year,” said Pat Murphy, the camp services director at Sturtevant Lodge through the YMCA. "I would say about 90 percent of what we do is outdoors."
But their woods are filled with mosquitoes, which can spread West Nile virus.
"Mosquitoes are definitely a concern," said Murphy.
Parents are also taking precautions.
"I think every parent is concerned, no one wants to get this," said Liz Bodemer-Csik of Wausau.
Camp directors say they haven't had any reports of campers with West Nile symptoms yet, but they're still taking precautions to make sure everyone's safe.
"We tried to keep areas mowed and trimmed back and trails cleared,” said Murphy.
The director also says the biggest safety tip is using bug spray.
"Every parent signs an authorization that allows the staff to utilize bug spray while they're here at camp, and our normal practices of applying that throughout the day on the kids," said Murphy.
Camp directors are taking action.
"They did tell us as a preparatory measure in general for camp that we should always use insect repellant," said Bodemer-Csik.
Parents are listening to the precautions.
"I think I’ll just stick with the insect repellant and just hope that they're okay," said Bodemer-Csik.
So these children can have a fun and safe summer.
Health officials say other ways to protect yourself from West Nile virus include wearing protective clothing. Another protection is limiting outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.