Wisconsin Activates Dead Bird Reporting Program to Combat West Nile

By KBJR News 1

Wisconsin Activates Dead Bird Reporting Program to Combat West Nile

May 4, 2012 Updated May 4, 2012 at 12:10 PM CDT

Madison, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) --- With summer right around the corner, those pesky mosquitoes will be out once again, bringing with them the possibility of the West Nile Virus.

In order to combat the possible spread of West Nile, Wisconsin has reactivated its Dead Bird Reporting Hotline.

According to state health officials, certain dead birds can act as an early warning sign to the introduction of West Nile in the state. If West Nile is found in a dead bird, the virus may be in the local mosquito population as well.

The Dead Bird Hotline will help state officials to know when and where special prevention and insect-control measures will need to be taken to stop the spread of West Nile and to keep humans from being infected.

If you would like to report a dead bird in your area, please call 1-800-433-1610. Hotline staff can answer questions about dead birds and provide information on safe handling and disposal. People should not handle dead birds with bare hands.

West Nile virus is spread to people by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Mosquitoes get infected with the virus by feeding on infected birds and can then transmit the virus to other animals, birds, and humans.

Only one in five people infected with West Nile virus will have symptoms, which begin within 3 to 14 days and typically last a few days.

Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. In rare cases, West Nile virus can cause severe disease with additional symptoms, including muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and potentially death.

The elderly and people who have received a transplant may be at greater risk of developing severe illness. People who become ill and think they have West Nile virus infection should contact their healthcare provider for treatment of symptoms.

Some tips to prevent you or your family from being bitten by mosquitoes include:
• Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Apply insect repellant to skin, and spray clothing with insect repellant because mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
• Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to reduce bites.
• Repair window and door screens to prevent mosquito entry.
• Properly dispose of items that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, pots or discarded tires.
• Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
• Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats and canoes when not in use.
• Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every three days.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
• Trim tall grass, weeds and vines because mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
• Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns