DHEC: You can help track West Nile Virus by submitting dead birds for Testing

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)— DHEC is asking South Carolina residents to submit certain species of dead birds for lab testing in an aim to track the West Nile virus (WNV) this spring and summer.

The dead bird surveillance program helps agency officials identify where and when there is an increase in West Nile virus activity.

According to officials, mosquitoes become infected with WNV when they feed on infected birds that carry the virus in their blood.

Infected mosquitoes can then transmit WNV to people and other animals after one to two weeks. Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms.

Residents can submit recently deceased crows, blue jays, house finches, and house sparrows that appear not to have been injured and are not decayed.

To safely collect a dead bird, residents should:

• Not touch a bird, dead or alive, with bare hands. Use gloves or pick up the bird with doubled, plastic bags.
• Keep the bagged bird cool until it can be placed on ice or in a refrigerator. If you can’t deliver the bird carcass to DHEC within 36 hours of collection, freeze it until you are able to deliver it or have it shipped.

Download and complete a Dead Bird Submission and Reporting Sheet for West Nile Virus and take the sheet and dead bird to a local DHEC Health or Environmental Affairs office during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday).

To locate a local DHEC office for submissions, visit scdhec.gov/birdtesting or contact the Vector-Borne Diseases Laboratory at 803-896-3802 or vector@dhec.sc.gov.

Submit now through Nov. 30.

Categories: Local News