Forest County Bird Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Protect Yourself Against Mosquito Bites

The Forest County Health Department reports a dead crow found in Forest County on July 18th, 2017 has tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Forest County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.

“The positive bird means that residents of Forest County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” Jill Krueger, Health Officer/Public Health Director said.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds.

“Forest County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Krueger said. “The West Nile virus seems to be here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”

The Forest CountyHealth Department recommends the following:

  • Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Apply insect repellent to clothing as well as exposed skin since mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
  • Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
  • Properly dispose of items around your property that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or discarded tires.
  • Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
  • Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use.
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
  • Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
  • Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.

The majority of people (80%) who are infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue. Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis, and coma. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of developing central nervous system illness that can be fatal.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has monitored the spread of West Nile virus since 2001 among wild birds, horses, mosquitoes, and people. During 2002, the state documented its first human infections and 52 cases were reported that year. During 2016, 13 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents. West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported from June through October; however, most reported becoming ill with West Nile virus in August and September.

The Wisconsin Division of Public Health will continue surveillance for West Nile virus until the end of the mosquito season. To report a sick or dead crow, blue jay, or raven, please call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.

Please call the Forest County Health Department with any questions at 715-478-3371.

For more information on West Nile virus:

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Fish Consumption Advisories

Check Fish Consumption Advisories Online

With fishing season underway in Wisconsin, you may be enjoying some freshly caught fish. Eating fish is part of a healthy diet, as fish are generally low in calories and fat and high in protein. However, some fish contain chemicals that can hurt a person’s health. For this reason, it is important to check fish advisories online and choose which fish to eat based on these advisories.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) updates fish advisories periodically. These advisories contain information specific to women of childbearing age, children under the age of 15, men, and older women. You can search your specific county and water body location at the DNR website:

Children and women who are pregnant, or who may become pregnant, are most impacted by these chemicals in fish. Following the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) and the DNR’s information for choosing safe fish to eat reduces the chances of eating fish with harmful chemicals.

Eating the right fish provides us with many nutritional benefits. Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which support crucial brain development in babies and heart health for all. Fish are also a source of high-quality protein. Since fish are naturally low in calories, they can also help you maintain a healthy weight.

For more information about safe fish consumption, visit the DHS website or contact Emmy Wollenburg at 608-267-3242 or the Forest County Health Department at 715-478-3371.

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Group Trail Walk Opportunities this Summer!

Click here for printable version: Group Trail Walks 2017 

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Join the 100 Mile Challenge this summer!

This summer the Forest County Health Department encourages people of all ages to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Forest County and improve your health by completing our 100 Mile Challenge.  The challenge starts June 1st and ends August 31st and you can walk, run, stroll, bike or paddle your way to better health!  Physical activity decreases your risk of disease, makes you stronger, improves your mental health and helps you sleep better.  It is also a healthy way to socialize and connect with others.

Keep track of your miles on the tracking log and turn them in at the end of August.  Those who complete 100 miles or more will receive a custom “100 Mile” pin, will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card and will also be added to our 100 Mile Club list of all people who completed the challenge.

There are some other great programs this summer that you won’t want to miss and will help you reach your mile goals.  There is a 30 Days Wild Program that will get you and your family out exploring nature and a Library Summer Bingo Program- watch for more information coming soon from the Crandon Public Library.   There will be a Garden Tour in July and there are multiple opportunities to enter 5K walk/runs this summer.  You can stay tuned of current events on the Forest County Chamber of Commerce Website at

Also, Forest County has received designation as a Scenic Byway in honor of two of its nationally recognized resources; the Wolf River and the Nicolet National Forest.  A variety of recreational opportunities are available ranging from activities on the multi-use trail systems to water based sports.  There is a mobile friendly website that will allow you to explore the Byway’s trails maps with parking information, campgrounds and more.

If you have ever wanted to visit some of the walking/hiking trails but you are not sure where to go or how to get there, we will be having some group walks this summer to help you out.  The first walk will be June 14th at Rat River Trail in Blackwell.  We will meet at the Blackwell Town Hall at 6:00 pm.  On June 21st we will meet at the Crandon Farmer’s Market on the courthouse grounds at 3:30 pm and walk part of the Crandon City Pedestrian Trail.  We will publish a full list of other group walks soon.

Visit the Health Department at the courthouse in Crandon or a Forest County library to pick up a packet.  Like us on Facebook to follow the progress and get more tips.  If you have questions about your health or your activity level, please talk with your doctor.  Please feel free to call us with any questions at 715-478-3371.

Click here to view the printable 100 Mile Tracking Log

Click here for printable Forest County Area Trails Brochure and Forest County Area Canoe Trails Brochure


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Celebrate Screen-Free Week!

Screen-Free Week, May 1st -7th, is a chance to take a much needed break from the screen media dominating the lives of so many children.  On average, preschool kids spend over 4 hours a day in front of screens.  Older kids can easily spend 7 hours a day including multitasking.  Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days of watching a screen for fun.  That doesn’t include the time on the computer for homework or educational purposes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the White House Task Force on Obesity, and others recommend no screen time for children under the age of 2, and less than 2 hours per day for older children.  The CDC recommends kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.  The time kids spend watching TV, playing video games, surfing the web, is time they could be physically active.  Too much screen time is linked to a number of problems for children, including childhood obesity, poor school performance, and problems with sleep and attention span.

During Screen-free week the Forest County Health Department and the Forest County CAN Coalition encourage you to limit screen time in your homes to 2 hours per day.  Use this opportunity to reconnect with your children by reading, playing, creating, being more active, and enjoying family meals, spending more time with family and friends, exploring nature, visiting your library, attending a school or community event.

We would also like to encourage you to attend a community showing of the documentary Screenagers, sponsored by the Crandon Public Library and the School District of Crandon on May 4th at the Crandon High School at 7:00 p.m. The movie takes a look at the impact of screens and gives tips on how parents can raise happy, healthy and responsible teens in a digital world.

Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with facts and tips.  You can also visit

Join us for a Screen-Free Challenge this week!

Click here for the flyer: Screen-Free Flyer

Click here for the tracking log: Screen-Free Tracking Log

Bring the completed tracking log back for a chance to win a prize!

Click here for Screen-Free activity ideas: 101 Scree-Free Activities

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