West Nile Found in Portage Co.
By Sara Marls
Officials from Portage County have confirmed West Nile virus has been found in a dead crow.
According to a news release from the Portage County Health and Human Services/Division of Public Health, the crow tested positive for the disease on May 20. Officials started watching for the virus on May 1.
West Nile virus is spread to humans by mosquitoes, which become infected by feeding from birds with the virus.
“Portage County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said Portage Co. Health Officer Gary Garske, who added the virus seemed like it was “here to stay”, and residents should do everything possible to reduce exposure and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Garske released the followings tips for reducing exposure:
• Limit time outside at dawn and dusk; use bug spray on skin and clothes
• Ensure window and door screens are in good shape and without holes.
• Get rid of outdoor items which can hold stagnate water, including tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or discarded tires. Bird bath water and pet dishes should get fresh water at least once every three days.
• Clean roof gutters and spouts to ensure proper drainage.
• Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats and canoes when not in use.
• Clean and chlorinate pools, saunas and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
• Trim tall grass, weeds and vines to deny mosquitoes daylight hiding areas.
West Nile virus can cause a variety of health problems in humans, including minor- to- severe flu-like symptoms as well as encephalitis or meningitis, and can eventually result in paralysis and death. Fatigue from the virus can last for months after initial symptoms are resolved, according to the state health department, though most people never recover completely. The incubation period for the virus is typically 2-6 days, though most people who become infected never show any symptoms.
Residents are asked to report any sick or dead crows, blue jays or ravens to the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 800-433-1610.