Most birds show no symptoms of infection, but certain bird species, such as crows, blue jays and ravens, are sensitive to the virus and are more likely to become sick and die.
"Reporting from the public is critical in helping health and wildlife experts better understand and contain the transmission of West Nile Virus," said Steve Schmitt, veterinarian-in-charge at the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab. "We ask residents to contact us if they find sick or dead crows, blackbirds, owls or hawks, or any other bird exhibiting signs of illness."
WNV is a mosquito-transmitted disease that was first discovered in the African country of Uganda in 1937. In recent years West Nile Virus has caused illness in birds, horses, and humans in Europe, and then the United States. It was first discovered in the U.S. in 1999 in New York City. Since that time, West Nile virus has been detected in 47 states from coast to coast. Originally reported in the Michigan in 2004, dead bird clusters of American Crows and Blue Jays acted as an early warning system for WNV activity.
For information about West Nile virus activity in Michigan and to report sick or dead birds, visitwww.michigan.gov/westnile. Additional information can be found at www.cdc.gov/westnile.
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