West Nile Virus - Safety Information, Causes, Mosquito Control and More

West Nile Virus - Safety Information, Causes, Mosquito Control and More

Reporting Dead Birds That May Have West Nile Virus

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe West Nile Virus is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall. This fact sheet contains important information that can help you recognize and prevent West Nile virus. The rate of fatality is 3-15% among those who develop the disease. WNV encephalitis primarily affects persons over 50 years of age. Those with a compromised immune system may also be more susceptible to acquiring encephalitis. Currently no approved human vaccine is available for WNV.

West Nile virus infects certain wild birds. The infected birds, especially crows, are known to get sick and die from the infection. Reporting of dead birds is a good way to check for West Nile virus activity in the environment and allow implementation of prevention and control measures to minimize the spread of the virus. State Dead Bird Surveillance program for West Nile virus rely on citizens to report and submit dead birds seen around their property or elsewhere to their local health department.

Avoid bare-hand contact when handling dead birds. Use rubber gloves when handling a dead bird. If you do not have gloves, insert your hand into a plastic bag, grasp the bird carefully and invert the bag over the bird. Each bird should be placed in tied plastic bag, and then placed inside a second tied bag.

If you are not submitting the bird for testing, the bagged bird can be placed in the trash.

If you have been asked to submit the dead bird for testing, take the bird to the nearest drop off site as instructed.

Identify and Report Dead Birds - State by state


CLICK HERE TO REPORT A DEAD BIRD or call toll-free: 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) Operators available: 8 am - 5 pm / 7 days a week. After 5 pm, please leave a message

After you have reported a dead bird, you will be contacted if that bird will be picked up for West Nile virus testing. If you have not been contacted within 24 hours of your report, you may safely dispose of the dead bird in your trash. There is no evidence that West Nile virus can be acquired by handling dead birds, but it is best not to handle the dead bird with your bare hands. Use gloves, a shovel, or a plastic bag to place the bird in a trash bag for disposal. Please DO NOT freeze dead birds. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, so the best way to protect yourself from West Nile virus is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Click here for prevention information. Due to the high volume of reports to the hotline, the California Department of Health Services is unable to respond to each report. However, all of the information received about dead birds is used by public agencies to track where birds are dying. Dead birds are an indicator of West Nile virus activity. This allows the local mosquito and vector control agencies to concentrate mosquito control efforts in those areas. Thank you for your cooperation.


Reporting Dead Birds in Connecticut


Palm Beach County: Palm Beach County Health Department, -Diseases West Nile Virus


Fact Sheet
Reporting dead birds: If you find a dead crow or other birds, immediately telephone your local health department to see if they are interested in picking up the bird for testing. More west nile information


Reporting dead birds: If you find a dead blue jay, crow, falcon, or hawk, please call your local health department and ask them if they would like to pick it up and send it to the State Laboratory. More information and local health department listings.
More west nile information.


Louisiana OPH - Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program: West Nile bird reporting


The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has a dead bird reporting page and is collecting reports of dead birds with our dead bird reporting form from around the state, and testing some of these birds for the virus.


How to report a dead bird in Maine, and other West Nile information.


How to Report a Dead or Sick Bird or Mammal in Michigan


How to report a dead bird in Mississippi, and other West Nile information.

New York

Reporting Dead Birds in New York page.


Reporting dead birds: Citizens should report dead crows and blue jays to their local health departments. More bird reporting information. More west nile information.


Pennsylvania Residents Should Report and Submit Dead Birds
1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3254). Click here for more information!


West Nile Virus Information and reporting dead birds

Washington State

Dead bird reporting information page. West Nile virus infects certain wild birds. Of those infected, particular birds-crows, jays, ravens, and magpies-tend to become sick and die. Increasing numbers of dead birds may be an indication of West Nile virus in your community. You can help by reporting dead crows and other birds to your local health department, environmental health program. You will be advised on whether the bird should be submitted for testing. Although it is important for public health officials to track dead bird sightings, most dead birds will not be collected or tested.


Reporting dead birds: If you find a sick or dead crow, blue jay, or raven, please call the WNV Hotline at 1-800-433-1610 to report it, or contact your local health department or local DNR office. More information. More West Nile information.

More Information:

Mosquito Control and Safe Pesticide Use

There are about 200 different species of mosquitoes in the United States, all of which live in specific habitats, exhibit unique behaviors and bite different types of animals. Click here for a page on how to control mosquitoes in your yard and neighborhood.

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