State and county health officials today announced that a dead crow found in Dodge County has tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the first bird to test positive for the virus in Wisconsin this year. Although very few mosquitoes actually carry West Nile virus, infected birds serve as an early warning that the virus is present in the area and that people should be more vigilant in protecting themselves against mosquito bites. West Nile virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes
become infected with West Nile virus by feeding on infected birds, and then potentially transmit the virus by biting other animals or people. Last year, 21 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents. While West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported from June through October, most individuals reported becoming ill with West Nile virus infection during August and September. Statewide surveillance activities related to West Nile virus began on May 1. People who have a question about a dead bird should call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.