The Oneida County Health Department confirmed a dead crow found earlier this month tested positive for West Nile Virus. Officials are urging people to be vigilant about themselves and their animals alike.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through mosquito bites, and the best way to avoid mosquito-borne illness is limiting those bites. They do say that a majority of people infected never get sick or experience mild symptoms. Last year 57 cases of West Nile transmissions to humans were reported in Wisconsin.
Linda Conlon at the Oneida County Health Department says, “The West Nile Virus seems to be here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure and eliminate breed grounds for mosquitoes.” This includes trying to eliminate areas of stagnant water where the bugs may breed such as wheelbarrows, clogged gutters, old tires and bird baths. They also recommend trimming tall grass, weeds, and vines where mosquitoes rest during the day.
At the same time, state officials are cautioning horse owners about West Nile as well, along with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which is also carried by mosquitoes.
Horses require an initial vaccination, the an annual booster. EEE kills about 90 percent of horses that it strikes, and West Nile kills in more than a third of all equine cases.
Neither of the viruses is contagious between horses, or between horses and humans.