MADISON (WKOW) -- Local public health officials continue to monitor for West Nile Virus as some cases have been reported in Wisconsin.
Health officials confirm one case of West Nile Virus in Dane County and one case in Dodge County. There have been six other confirmed cases in southeastern Wisconsin, with four in Milwaukee County and two in Waukesha County.
West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Public Health Madison and Dane County reported its first case of West Nile in a Dane County bird in late July.
"Our West Nile Virus activity is up a little bit in what we've seen as far as dead birds," said John Hausbeck, Environmental Health Services Supervisor at Public Health Madison & Dane County. Hausbeck adds that health officials ask anyone who sees a sick or dead bird to call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.
Public Health officials check close to 500 ditches and drainage areas across the county for mosquito larvae, and then check to see if they are the type of mosquito that spreads West Nile. Hausman says the dry weather we've had means rain is not washing out the ditches, leaving stagnant water in some ditches.
Federal officials say there have been at least 87 West Nile deaths across the country this year with more than half of them, 43, in the state of Texas.
Positive test results for West Nile must be confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than one percent of people infected with the virus get seriously ill.
Health officials offer the following advice for avoiding mosquito bites and limiting your chances of contracting West Nile Virus:
• Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Apply insect repellant to clothing as well as exposed skin because mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
• Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
• Properly dispose of items that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or discarded tires to prevent mosquito breeding. Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats and canoes when not in use.
• Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
• 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.
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