West Nile virus confirmed in Polk County

The Polk County Health Department says it has had a positive test result for West Nile virus on a crow found in the Amery area. The Health Department says it will continue submitting birds to the state for testing until three positive results are returned.

The department says West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes and while infections may cause no appreciable illness in most people, about 20 percent of those infected may develop mild to moderate symptoms such as fever with headache, body aches, a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. Less than 1 percent become severely ill. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus other than to treat symptoms and offer supportive care. Those most as risk include young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

The department says all mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs and complete their life cycle. It takes only a thimble-full of water for these insects to breed, and about 9-12 days for a mosquito to go from egg to adult. You can help control the mosquito population by eliminating potential breeding sites such as tin cans, tires and tree holes. Empty, remove, cover or turn upside down any receptacle that could hold water to reduce mosquito breeding.

For more information, you can contact the Polk County Health Department at 715/485-8500.

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