Public Health Madison and Dane County on Monday reported the first bird testing positive for West Nile virus this year.

Peak season is approaching for the virus, which is spread to people and horses through mosquitoes infected by biting birds. To reduce risk, health officials say people should limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, apply insect repellant to clothing and exposed skin, make sure window and door screens are in good repair, trim tall grass, weeds and vines, and eliminate standing water.

People can report sick or dead birds to the Dead Bird Hotline, 1-800-433-1610.

Since 2002, there have been 234 human cases of West Nile virus statewide, with 23 reported in Dane County. Four cases were reported in 2013.

Health and medicine reporter

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