Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 7:30am
Important Measures Outlined to Protect Against West Nile Virus
Madison, WI, Tuesday April 17, 2007-Mosquito season in our area normally starts in May, but despite some cold and snowy intervals, the better spring weather has ensured the arrival of these troublesome insect pests. The bigger potential problem is the possibility that these mosquitoes could be carrying the West Nile Virus. This means that all Dane County residents should be making sure that they take appropriate measures to avoid getting bitten and to eliminate breeding sites on their property. Since sick and dead birds can be evidence that the virus is present, we are continuing to ask that Dane County residents report sick or dead crows and blue jays to the state Dead Bird Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.
The West Nile virus can develop into a life-threatening illness in people. It is carried by crows, blue jays and other birds and spread to humans by mosquitoes. By calling the hotline to tell us about dead or sick crows and blue jays you can play a very important role in helping us monitor this situation.
Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will either have no symptoms at all or show only mild symptoms like fever, headache, body aches and sometimes a rash (known as West Nile fever). Fewer than 1 percent of those infected develop a severe condition called West Nile encephalitis that can lead to coma, permanent neurological damage or death. Last year, Dane County saw three cases of West Nile disease. Statewide there were 21 cases of West Nile disease and one person died from it.
To prevent getting infected with the virus,
• Protect yourself from mosquito bites by keeping mosquitoes out of your house, wearing long pants and long sleeves while outside, and using a repellant that contains Deet, Picaridin (KBR3023), or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
• Eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes near your house or on your property. Because mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, you should get rid of even small amounts of standing water on your property. Simple but important actions to take include:
• Clean out clogged rain gutters,
-Change the water in birdbaths, wading pools, and pet water dishes every three to four days,
• Properly dispose of old tires, see the Recyclopedia for more information
• Make sure that items on your property (boats, pool covers, pots, etc) do not hold water for more than 3 - 4 days.
As in past years, the Public Health Department for Madison and Dane County will be conducting limited mosquito monitoring and control activities in the Madison metropolitan area.
The Board of Health for Madison and Dane County will be discussing these activities and accepting comments and questions from the public at their upcoming meeting on Thursday April 19, 2007 at 5:30pm at the Madison Water Utility 119 East Olin Avenue, Madison WI 53713.
- John Hausbeck, 608-294-5315
- Jeff Golden, 608-267-2583