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Important Measures Outlined to Protect Against West Nile Virus


Madison, WI, Thursday, May 22, 2008-Mosquito season in our area normally starts in May, but despite the harshness of this past winter, the improving spring weather has ensured that the arrival of these troublesome insect pests will be right on schedule.

The bigger potential problem is the possibility that these mosquitoes could be carrying the West Nile Virus.

This means that all Dane County residents should be preparing for this by:
a. taking appropriate measures to avoid getting bitten, and
b. eliminating mosquito breeding sites on their property.

The presence of sick and dead crows and blue jays can be evidence that West Nile Virus is present. If you find a sick or dead crow or blue jay on your property or on the street, we ask that you call the state Dead Bird Hotline at
1-800-433-1610 and report what you have found.

West Nile virus can develop into a life-threatening illness in people. It is carried by crows and blue jays and is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. Calling the hotline to tell us about dead or sick crows and blue jays truly helps us to monitor this situation.

Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will either have no symptoms at all or show only mild symptoms like fever, headache, body aches and sometimes a rash (known as West Nile fever). Less than one percent of those infected develop a severe condition called West Nile encephalitis that can lead to coma, permanent neurological damage or death. Last year, Dane County saw two cases of West Nile disease. Statewide there were 12 cases of West Nile disease and one death.

To prevent getting infected with the virus, protect yourself from mosquito bites by

• keeping mosquitoes out of your house,
• wearing long pants and long sleeves while outside and,
• using a repellant that contains Deet, Picaridin (KBR3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
• eliminating breeding grounds for mosquitoes near your house or on your property.

Because mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, you should get rid of even small amounts of standing water on your property. Simple but important actions to take include:

• Cleaning out clogged rain gutters, changing the water in birdbaths, wading pools, and pet water dishes every three to four days,
• Properly disposing of old tires, (see the Recyclopedia for more information).
• Making sure that items on your property (boats, pool covers, pots, bird baths, etc) do not hold water for more than 3 - 4 days.

As in past years, the Department of Public Health for Madison and Dane County will be conducting limited mosquito monitoring and control activities in the Madison metropolitan area.



  • Amanda Kita-Yarbro, (608) 243-0336
  • Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302