Help DNR Track West Nile Virus by Submitting Dead Birds to Local Offices

April 20, 2017, 8:32 am EST | Share:

COLUMBIA, SC (TIM RENAUD, WTAT-TV) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is asking for your help in tracking cases of the West Nile Virus. They are asking for the public to help submit dead birds to local officers for testing results.

“The dead bird surveillance program plays a key role in alerting the department to West Nile virus activity across the state,” said Dr. Chris Evans, State Public Health Entomologist, DHEC Bureau of Environmental Health Services. “The public’s involvement with dead bird surveillance covers a wide area and helps identify West Nile virus before it shows up in people.”

DHEC says mosquitoes become infected after feeding on sick birds who transport the virus in their blood, who then transmit the virus to humans and other animals.

Some signs birds have West Nile Virus include weakness, sluggishness, shaking, seizures, an inability to walk/fly/perch, blindness, or lack of fear of humans.

DHEC is requesting that residents report or submit recently deceased non-injured, non-decayed crows, blue jays, house finches, and house sparrows to local offices between now through the end of November.

To safely collect a dead bird, it is important to follow these instructions:

• Do not touch a bird (dead or alive) with bare hands:
o Use gloves, or;
o Pick the bird up with doubled, clear plastic bags that have been turned inside out (covering your hand). Invert the bag over the bird (uncovering your hand) and seal the bird in the doubled plastic bags.
• Keep the bagged bird cool until it can be placed on ice or in a refrigerator. If the bird carcass cannot be delivered to DHEC within 24-36 hours of collection, freeze it until delivery or shipment.
• Download and complete the DHEC Dead Bird Submission and Reporting Sheet for West Nile virus and submit it, along with the dead bird, to your local DHEC office.

Testing result notifications will be returned in approximately two weeks. Click here for instructions on how to pick up or transport a bird to the closest DHEC office.