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Fact Sheet







West Nile Virus and Birds

Q. Do birds infected with West Nile virus die or become ill?

A. In the 1999 New York area epidemic, there was a large die-off of American crows. Since then, West Nile virus has been identified in more than 100 species of birds found dead in the United States. Most of these birds were identified through reporting of dead birds by the public.

Q. How can I report a sighting of dead bird(s) in my area?

A. State and local health departments may start collecting reports of dead birds at different times in the year. Some wait until the weather becomes warm before initiating their surveillance program. For information about reporting dead birds in your specific area, please contact your state or local health department.

Q. Why have some areas stopped collecting dead birds?

A. Some states and jurisdictions are no longer collecting dead birds because they have sufficiently established that the virus is in an area, and additional testing will not reveal any more information. Shifting resources away from testing of dead birds allows those resources to be devoted elsewhere in surveillance and control.