6/27/17 – The Dodge County Health Department is reporting that a dead bird found in the county has tested positive for West Nile virus. The discovery is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile in Dodge County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. Public Health Officer Jody Langfeldt says the positive bird means that county residents need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites. Langfeldt recommends, among other things, limiting time spent outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active; applying insect repellent to clothing as well as exposed skin; and proper disposal of items around your property that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or discarded tires. Langfeldt says West Nile seems to be here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Less than one-percent of people infected with the virus get seriously ill with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis, and coma. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of developing illness that can be fatal. Last year, 13 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents. West Nile virus infections in humans are typically reported from June through October with most illnesses occurring in August and September. The state will continue surveillance until the end of the mosquito season. To report a sick or dead crow, blue jay, or raven, please call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.