You can help the Health Department track West Nile in Oneida County
Story By Lyndsey Stemm
RHINELANDER - A dead crow in Woodruff tested positive for West Nile Virus. It's the first positive test in Oneida County this year.
Mosquitoes that bite a sick bird can transmit the virus to people. Eighty percent of people with the virus never show any signs. But if you do, you'll have symptoms like fever, muscle aches and headache.
People with suppressed immune systems, the elderly and the very young are the highest risk for serious complications.
"If a person really gets sick from the West Nile Virus then they've got central nervous system problems. And that means Encephalitis and problems where they're going to end up having brain swelling, going into a coma, or paralysis, or something else serious. It could be fatal," says Charlotte Ahrens, an Oneida County Public Health Nurse.
Mosquitoes are just a part of life here in the Northwoods. But the Oneida County Health Department says people living where West Nile has been found should try to avoid getting bitten. Prevention goes beyond using bug spray.
"They really should look around at their gutters, and planters and their bird baths and make sure they're emptied out and that you don't have stagnant water sitting around. Because these mosquitoes are the type that really love that stagnant water that's sitting around for breeding areas," says Ahrens.
It's also really important to report any dead crows, blue jays or ravens. Call 1-800-433-1610.
The state will test the birds. That helps them keep track of where the virus is moving.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.
The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
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