Crow about dead birds, help track West Nile virus
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Call Public Health or report online
KING COUNTY, WA -- Help track potential cases of West Nile virus in King County by reporting dead birds. Crows in particular die quickly from West Nile virus and clusters of dead crows may indicate that West Nile virus is present in the community. Call 206-205-4394 or report the bird online.
West Nile virus was not found in King County in 2010, but has been active here in previous years. Most people don't feel the effects of the infection, but in others it can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including diseases of the brain and spinal cord. In the United States in 2010, 1,021 cases of WNV disease in people were reported from 41 states, and 57 people died. People of all ages can get WNV disease, but people over 50 are more likely to become seriously ill.
Over the next three months, dead birds reported to Public Health will be collected for laboratory testing for West Nile virus if they are deemed suitable candidates for testing. To be tested, the bird must be a crow, raven, jay, or magpie, dead for less than 24 hours, and have no visible trauma or decay.
Protect yourself from mosquitoes by eliminating their breeding habitat:
The mosquito most responsible for West Nile virus in our area is the northern house mosquito Culex pipiens, which prefers to lay eggs in standing water common around most houses. Even small amounts of water, such as in plant saucers or a clogged gutter, can produce many mosquitoes. Remove this habitat to reduce the number of mosquitoes near your home:
- Tip out containers that collect water, including barrels, buckets, wheelbarrows, bottles, wading pools, birdbaths, animal troughs and plant saucers
- Dump water off of tarps and plastic sheeting and get rid of used tires
- Clean garden ponds, circulate water in fountains and cover rain barrels with mosquito screens
- Clean leaf-clogged gutters and repair leaky outdoor faucets
- Repair ripped windows and door screens and make sure they fit tight so adult mosquitoes can’t get into your home
- Help elderly neighbors with these actions
Avoid getting bitten when mosquitoes are out by wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. Consider using an insect repellent. Information about safe and effective repellents may be found at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm
West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by biting an infected bird that carries the virus. Horses are susceptible to West Nile virus infection, which can result in severe disease or death; horse owners should contact their veterinarian because a vaccine is available for horses. West Nile virus is not spread by person-to-person contact, nor is it transmitted directly from birds or other animals to people. Mosquito season, when West Nile virus is of most concern, runs from spring through late fall. Find more information at www.kingcounty.gov/health/westnile
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.9 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health - Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.