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Two West Nile infected birds found in Marathon County


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- West Nile Virus has been found in Marathon County. Health Department Epidemiologist Ruth Klee Marx says two crows came back from the lab with positive test results. “We actually had two birds sent in, because we got them at about the same time, so we sent them both in. We tested them both, and they both tested positive for West Nile virus.”

West Nile can make humans sick, and in extreme cases can cause high fever, weakness, disorientation, mental confusion, and even paralysis, coma, and death for people with compromised immune systems. So far, Marx says there is one confirmed West Nile case in Wisconsin this summer. She says you can only get it from an infected mosquito.  “West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds. It’s not passed person to person, so the best thing you can do to protect your health is to do everything you can to minimize the number of times that you get bitten by mosquitoes.”

Marx says there are simple things you can do to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes, such as using repellent with deet, wearing clothing that covers more skin, and some simple tasks around your home.  “It’s also important that you make sure that your screens on your house are in good repair, and mosquitoes can’t get into your house, and that you eliminate sources of standing water around your property. This would be things like buckets and old tires, anything that can accumulate water in it. Clean out birdbaths every couple of days, pet water sources. This is all to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.”

Anyone with questions about West Nile virus can contact the Wisconsin Department of Health, your county Health Department, or go to the state’s website