DHEC asking people to submit dead birds to help track West Nile Virus

FILE PHOTO of bird.
FILE PHOTO of bird.(KY3)
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 9:56 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Dept. of Health and Environmental Control has asked that residents submit certain types of dead birds to help track West Nile Virus.

During the spring, summer and fall, DHEC is asking that residents submit recently deceased crows, blue jays, house finches and house sparrows that appear to not have been injured and are not decayed.

Officials say those birds are more susceptible to WNV than other species, which makes them good candidates for testing. Other birds will be tested on a case-by-case basis.

DHEC’s goal with the dead bird surveillance program is to better understand where and when there is an increase in West Nile virus activity. The activity is reported to local mosquito control programs, so they can take action to protect the health of local residents.

The birds can be submitted to DHEC at local Environmental Affairs offices from March 15 through November 30.

Here are DHEC officials’ tips on how to collect dead birds:

  • Don’t touch a bird, dead or alive, with bare hands. Use gloves or pick up the bird with doubled, plastic bags.
  • Keep the bagged bird cool until it can be placed on ice. If the bird carcass can’t be delivered to DHEC within 36-hours of collection, place it on ice in a cooler, but do not allow water into the bags. Please do not refrigerate or freeze the carcass where food is stored.
  • Download and complete the Dead Bird Submission and Reporting Sheet for West Nile Virus and take the sheet and dead bird to a local DHEC Environmental Affairs office during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). See our interactive map of available offices for drop-off.

“The public’s involvement with dead bird surveillance helps identify West Nile virus before it shows up in people,” said Dr. Chris Evans, State Public Health Entomologist. “This is a unique opportunity for the public to proactively assist their public health agency in staying ahead of a potential health risk.”

For more information, click here or call 803-896-3802.

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