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West Nile virus in Oneida County

RHINELANDER, Wis (WXPR) - Oneida County health officials have detected West Nile virus in a dead crow. It's the virus's first appearance in the county this year.

Health director Linda Conlon says officials have regularly found the virus in previous years, and it's a sign that residents should try to limit exposure to mosquito bites. "So what that means is the residents of Oneida county need to use more precaution when they're outside and make sure that they utilize protective measures to prevent mosquito bites."

West Nile virus is transmitted to mosquitoes when the insects feed on infected birds. And mosquitoes can spread it to humans. Last year there were about 60 reported cases in the state of Wisconsin. But Conlon says many cases go undetected because only 20 percent of those infected actually have symptoms, and some of those are mild... "West nile virus can be severe in children, older adults and people with compromised immune systems.

Less than one percent of people infected with west nile virus become severely ill." A severe case can mean extreme muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain paralysis and coma.

The health department is urging residents to use mosquito repellent and limit outdoor exposure between dawn and dusk. Officials also suggest getting rid of things in the yard that could hold water...creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.