dead birds

kdli at kdli at
Sat Sep 28 10:00:02 PDT 2002

A month ago I found a crow in NE Seattle that appeared to be in good condition except it was dead; it was even still warm. I contacted the King County health department, and after some deliberation they decided they wanted to submit it with a batch of other crows to a federal facility for testing. My impression is that they're just testing crows right now, due their apparent high susceptibility to the virus. They're also trying to cover the geographic area somewhat evenly, and needed a brief time to check records on from where they already had specimens. In the meantime they instructed me to freeze the crow in a sealed bag. I'm not sure when results will be available.

Pasted below is a brief section on suveillance, from the King County web:
"Though many birds and other animals may be infected by West Nile virus, some birds are particularly susceptible to the virus. Crows, jays and other "corvid" birds often sicken and die from West Nile virus. That's why Public Health is watching out for dead crows and why Public Health is testing them for West Nile virus. When Public Health finds a dead crow with West Nile virus, King County will know the virus has arrived in our area.
You can help! Call Public if you find a dead crow. When you call, Public Health will ask you a few questions relating to how long the bird has been dead, where and when you found the bird, and whether the bird is damaged. Undamaged, freshly dead birds are best for testing. The number to call is 206-205-4394.
If the dead bird you find is inappropriate for testing, you may place the bird in a plastic bag (double-bag it) and dispose of it in your garbage. Though you shouldn't touch a dead bird with your hands (use gloves or a shovel instead), it is important to remember that dead birds do not spread West Nile virus."

Kevin Li
Ballard, USA
kdli at

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