This evening I found a dead crow while I was walking in my neighborhood. It lay in the middle of the sidewalk that runs along a small neighborhood park.
To see if I ought to do anything, I consulted the District government's page on the West Nile Virus. According to an FAQ, the District is no longer collecting dead birds for testing since the virus's presence in the area has been well-established. The Department of Health recommends disposing of dead birds yourself.
Dead birds act as a sentinel and dead bird surveillance is one of the components of the West Nile virus program in the District. The Department of Health has collected and tested sufficient numbers of dead birds to know that West Nile virus is endemic. The Department of Health is no longer studying dead birds. If you find a dead bird, please dispose of the bird yourself. To properly dispose of the bird, please follow this procedure:Now I did not have the proper material to dispose of this creature myself, so I left it where it was. I imagine it will get flagged and disposed fairly soon anyway, since it is on a regular police patrol route.
* Wear protective gloves or use a plastic bag as a glove
* Place or wrap the dead bird in a plastic bag and tie the bag securely
* Dispose of the bag in an outdoor trash receptacle
* Wash your hands with soap and water
Remember, the West Nile virus is not transmitted directly from birds to humans.
When the West Nile Virus first appeared in the DC area several years ago, it appeared that crows were the main avian host for the disease. (The local crow population has declined significantly since the outbreak of the disease.) Recent studies, though, have suggested that the virus is more widespread, and that robins may be the most susceptible birds.
- West Nile Virus Hurting Local Bird Species
- Bird Diversity and the West Nile Virus
- BMA #26: Crows and Ravens