wisconsin State Activates West Nile Virus Hotline To Report Dead Birds

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West Nile Virus

Wisconsin State health officials have reactivated the statewide, toll-free Dead Bird Reporting Hotline to respond to reports of sick or dead birds and requests for West Nile virus testing.

Persons who observe a dead bird in their yard or who have a question about a dead bird should call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.

"Dead wild birds act as an early warning system for West Nile virus," said Diep Hoang Johnson, the state's West Nile virus Surveillance Coordinator. "While very few mosquitoes actually carry the virus, we want to do all we can to protect someone from being bit by an infected mosquito. Finding the virus in birds indicates that the virus may be present in the mosquito population in a particular area."

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West Nile virus (WNV) is an infection that can occur in warm weather months when mosquitoes are active. The virus is spread to people by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Mosquitoes get infected with WNV by feeding on infected birds and can transmit the virus to other animals, birds, and humans.

Most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms, but those who do become ill may develop a fever, headache, and rash that lasts a few days. Symptoms may begin between three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, and people who become ill should contact their healthcare provider. In rare cases, WNV can cause severe disease with symptoms such as headache, fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and potentially death. Older people are at greater risk of developing severe illness.

Preventing mosquito bites will prevent West Nile virus infection. Since all mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs and complete their life cycle, reducing or eliminating standing water reduces potential breeding sites, mosquito numbers, and the risk for mosquito bites.

Below are some measures to help decrease your exposure to mosquitoes:

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