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Precautions Against Mosquito Bites Urged

After a dead bird found earlier this month in Madison was found to have West Nile Virus (WNV), Madison and Dane County residents today are being reminded of steps they can take to lessen their chances of contracting this disease. The tested bird suggests that WNV may be actively circulating throughout Dane County. Therefore all residents and visitors should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and eliminate areas where mosquitoes can breed. The actions to take include:
Avoid mosquito bites:
• Maintain window screens in good repair to decrease indoor contact with mosquitoes.
• When outdoors, wear an effective mosquito repellant containing an active ingredient registered by the EPA, such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
• When outdoors, wear light-colored protective clothing such as long pants and loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, and tuck pants into socks.
• Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, specifically around dawn and dusk.
Eliminate standing water:
• Clean out rain gutters to prevent water from collecting after a storm.
• Remove containers, old tires, and other objects that may collect water.
• Change the water in bird bathes and wading pools every three to five days.
West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds. While the disease can be deadly, the majority of people (80%) who are infected do not get sick, and most of those who do become ill experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, or rash.

This is the first indication of WNV in Dane County this year since surveillance began on May 1. The first WNV positive bird in Wisconsin was found in Wood County earlier this month. To date this mosquito season, no humans have been identified with WNV in Wisconsin.

In 2006, a total of 21 Wisconsin residents became ill from West Nile Virus. One of the 21 people diagnosed with WNV died of complications related to the disease. Three of the 21 cases lived in Dane County. The virus was also found last year in birds, horses, or humans in 61 of Wisconsin's 72 counties.

More information on WNV can be found on the Public Health for Madison and Dane County website and Wisconsin Division of Public Health website noted above.

Public Health Madison and Dane County in cooperation with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health will continue surveillance for West Nile virus until the end of the mosquito season. It is very important for Dane County residents to continue reporting sick or dead crows and blue jays to the Dead Bird Hotline,
1-800-433-1610, through the remainder of the mosquito season (May - October).


  • John Hausbeck, Environmental Epidemiologist, 243-0331