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West Nile Worries

By: Sahar El-Hodiri
By: Sahar El-Hodiri

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Kansas health officials are asking us to report dead birds, because they may carry West Nile virus.

But they say if you find one, don't panic, and remember there are many other reason birds die.

Health officials stress the chances of finding a dead bird with west nile virus are low. So are your chances of contracting the disease.

West Nile virus has been in the national spotlight lately. A fifth person in Louisiana has died from the disease. 14 more have been infected, bringing the state total to 72, the most in any outbreak in the country.

Also, Arkansas confirms the first known case of the disease in a human. Kansas is on alert, trapping and testing mosquitoes and birds for West Nile, and asking you to report dead birds.

But keep in minds, there are a lot of reasons that birds die. Charlie Cope is with the Kansas Department Of Wildlife And Parks.

Cope says, "Some of it may be related to the weather, there may be a storm that moves through, wind gusts or lightning. It's been awful dry and hot and that can take its toll on wildlife."

Cope says right now, the chances of finding west nile virus in a dead bird are pretty low. And even if the disease hits Kansas, the chances of you getting sick are also low.

If an infected mosquito bites you, most likely you'll have either no symptoms or mild ones.

In rare cases, it can cause severe and sometimes fatal encephalitis or inflammation of the brain.

Cope says, "I think you want to use common sense, go outside enjoy life but keep in mind that there is this new threat."

If you see a dead bird, especially a crow or blue jay, call 1-866-452-7810. A recording will explain what to do with the bird.

West Nile Virus Prevention Tips


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