Vilas County Public Health - Home

Shoo the Flu!


While flu mist also known as the nasal spray is not recommended this flu season due to low effectiveness, the flu vaccine or flu shot will be available. The flu shot did perform well last flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone age six months and older should be vaccinated.

“The best way to prevent the flu is by getting your flu shot” said Laurel Dreger, Public Health Nurse.  In Wisconsin flu season hit those 65 years and older the hardest; however there was an increase in the adult population under 65.  Seasonal flu is usually spread from October through May in the United States.  Flu and problems from flu are serious; please get vaccinated.

Vilas County Public Health Department is now holding flu clinics for adults, at the following sites, dates and times: 2016 Flu Schedule

If you have more questions about influenza or times of clinics, please call Vilas County Public Health Department at 715-479-3656.

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

Vilas County Publc Health Department wants to remind you and your family of the importance of safe sleep for your baby during SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Awareness Month. Sleep related deaths are the leading cause of death for babies 1-12 months of age. Babies who are 2 to 4 months of age are at the highest risk for these sleep related deaths. Since 2010 in north central Wisconsin, 7 babies have died from a sleep related death. 

Parents get a lot of informaiton about the care of their new baby.  From feeding to growth and development, there are so many do’s and don’ts that it can be overwhelming. The same is true for safe sleep but there is an easy way to remember.  Follow the ABC’s of safe sleep for your baby every time they go to sleep:

  • A = Alone
  • B = Back is Best
  • C = In an uncluttered Crib

Tell everyone who will be caring for your baby about the ABCs!

Also follow these steps:


  • Keep your baby’s sleep area close to but separate from where others sleep.
  • Put your baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib or pack ‘n play at every nap and every night.
  • Remove everything from your baby’s crib including bumpers, comforters, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals, wedges and pillows.
  • Dress your baby in light sleep clothing and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.


  • Allow your baby to sleep alone or with others on a bed, recliner, couch, chair or other soft bedding.
  • Have anything in your baby’s crib but a fitted crib sheet and your baby.
  • Let anyone smoke around your baby including at home or in the car.

For more information, scroll down to the bottom of our Child Family Health webpage.


Crow Tests Positive for West Nile Virus in Vilas County

Vilas County Public Health Department reports a dead crow found in Vilas County last Tuesday (8/9/16) has tested positive for West Nile virus.  This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Vilas County this year.

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

Take some simple steps to protect yourself against mosquito bites and limit exposure from mosquitoes.  Also, get rid of breeding grounds for mosquitoes.  The Health Department recommends the following steps:

  • Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellant on 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 throw away items 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 birdbaths 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 and muscle aches,
  • rash, and
  • fatigue (being tired).

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 weak immune systems have a greater chance to develop a central nervous system illness that can lead to death.

The 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 2015, 9 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents.West Nile virus infections in people 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. 

For more information on West Nile virus:


Zika virus

Zika virus is a virus that most commonly comes from the bite of a certain type of mosquito.  It has been seen in high numbers in most of the Caribbean and the northeastern parts of South America.There isn't any known spread of the Zika virus due to mosquitos in the continental United States.

The virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms or signs of Zika virus disease are:

      • Fever,
      • Rash,
      • Joint pain, and
      • Conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Only about 20% of people with Zika virus feel sick, so they may not know they have the virus in their body. If a person gets sick, it will happen anywhere from a few days to a week after coming into contact with the virus. Although Zika virus may not be harmful to the person who gets ill, it may have serious side effects on the developing baby, if a woman who is pregnant is infected with the Zika virus.

The Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies.  However, all the health effects of Zika virus infection during pregnancy is not yet known.  The CDC is continuing to study Zika virus.

Pregnant Women with Any Lab Evidence of Zika Virus Infection*   

  • US States and DC: 731    
  • US Territorieries:  1,156

*Source: Pregnancy Registries as of September 8, 2016

Zika Virus Disease Cases Reported to ArboNET*

  • US States and DC: 3,176
  • US Territories: 17,694   

*Source:  ArboNET as of September 14, 2016

In addition to spreading through the bite of an infected mosquito, Zika virus is also spread through sexual contact. For men that have traveled to areas where Zika virus is common, they should avoid sexual contact with any pregnant partners or use a condom with any sexual contact until their partner is no longer pregnant. Women traveling to areas where Zika virus is present are encouraged to avoid becoming pregnant until after travel. If women are currently pregnant, they should consider not traveling to these areas until no longer pregnant. 

If you have traveled to an area that has Zika virus in the past 2 weeks and feel ill, or you traveled while pregnant, contact your medical provider for follow up. For more information:

"If You See Something, Say Something™"

"If You See Something, Say Something™" is a national campaign to prevent crimes of terrorism.  Not only does the campaign raise awareness on possible crimes related to terrorism, it stresses the importance of reporting suspicious activites to law enforcement.

Informed, alert communities play a critical role in keeping our nation safe.  To report suspicious activity, contact your local law enforcement agency. Describe with as many details as you can what you saw and include:

      • Who or what you saw;
      • When you saw it;
      • Where it occurred; and
      • Why it's suspicious.

If there is an emergency, call 9–1–1.  For more information on the campaign visit: