A ruffed grouse tested positive for West Nile virus in 2018 and that’s got people concerned in Door and Kewaunee Counties. For the first time in Wisconsin’s history, a ruffed grouse tested positive for West Nile Virus in 2018. WNV is a mosquito-borne illness that can be contracted by humans and animals. In 2018, some birds did test positive for WNV in Door County but there were no reported cases in humans according to the Wisconsin Health Department. Kewaunee County did not have any reported WNV. Josh Martinez is a Senior Wildlife Biologist for the Wisconsin DNR whose primary focus is on wildlife health and disease for Door and Kewaunee County and he says it’s not uncommon for birds to test positive for West Vile Virus.
It is possible to contract WNV and not know it as 80% of people infected with the disease never experience symptoms according to the WHD. In less than 1% of cases, WNV can be deadly. One person in Wisconsin died from West Nile Virus in 2018.