You can help the Health Department track West Nile in Oneida CountySubmitted: 07/19/2013
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.

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