Public health officials announced Monday a bird has tested positive for West Nile virus in Dane County, which is the first positive case in the county this year.
Infected birds serve as an early warning by indicating that the virus is present in the area, according to a release.
People should start paying more attention to protecting themselves against mosquito bites, officials said.
An increase in sick or dead birds might indicate an increasing risk of WNV infection in humans, so public officials as people to continue to report sick or dead birds they find to the Dead Bird Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.
Infected mosquitoes can spread the virus to humans through a bite, according to the release. Mosquitoes get infected with WNV by biting infected birds.
Tips to avoiding mosquito bites:
- 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 are capable of biting through clothing.
- Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the house.
- Trim tall grass, weeds and vines, because mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
- Eliminate sources of standing water by getting rid of items that can hold water, cleaning roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage, cleaning water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every three days, cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools, and landscaping to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.