West Nile Virus - Time to Report Dead Birds to Health Department

As in past summers the Four Corners Health Department, serving Butler, Polk, Seward and York Counties, is asking for your help to check for West Nile Virus. The health department will begin the West Nile Virus program on June 1 by accepting dead birds for testing for the virus. Contact the Four Corners office by calling 402-362-2621 or toll free 877-337-3573.

Reports of dead birds of any type will be logged, but only “CORVID” birds, such as Blue Jays, Crows and Magpies, will be picked up and tested for West Nile virus. Birds can only be tested if they are in good condition--have died within the last 12-24 hours, with no signs of decay, maggots, odor or rotting.

West Nile virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on a sick bird. The mosquito can then pass the virus on to humans. Finding the virus in birds gives public health officials an idea of the level of the virus in the area and the risk to human beings of getting the disease.

You should not handle dead birds or other animals with bare hands. Use a shovel to pick up the bird or reach into a plastic bag and using the bag like a glove, pick up the bird and turn the bag inside out. The bag can then be tied. If the bird is not accepted by the health department it can be placed in a covered trash can. Wash hands completely after putting the bird in the trash.

“As we enter into the summer months we encourage everyone to start thinking about the upcoming mosquito season. Every year we see cases of West Nile Fever in our four counties.” states Laura McDougall of the Four Corners Health Department.

People can “fight the bite” to lessen their risk of getting West Nile Virus by:

  • Using insect repellant that has DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
  • Wearing light weight long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, especially around standing water and long grass;
  • Being even more careful when going outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active; and
  • Removing standing water where mosquitoes breed.

To report a dead bird or for questions contact Four Corners Health Department at (402) 362-2621 or toll free (877) 337-3573 or see our website at: www.fourcorners.ne.gov.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.