Report dead birds to help the state track West Nile virus

July 3, 2012

By Staff

The impending arrival of summer also marks the start of mosquito season — and increased risk of West Nile virus.

State Department of Health officials asked citizens to report dead birds online in order to help track the virus. The location and testing of dead birds — especially crows, ravens, jays, magpies and hawks — is a way to track the West Nile virus.

Citizens can report dead birds at www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/Zoo/WNV/reportdeadbird.html. Officials encourage dead bird monitoring from May through November.

Mosquitoes spread West Nile virus after the insects feed on infected birds. The disease can sicken humans, horses, and many types of birds and other animals.

Most people do not feel the effects of infection, but in others, West Nile disease can cause severe symptoms, including brain and spinal cord diseases.

Statewide, health officials collected five positive mosquito samples in 2011 — down from 126 positive samples in 2010. Officials did not detect any bird, horse or human cases last year.

West Nile virus in Washington reached a high in 2009, as health officials documented 38 human cases, including one fatality.

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