FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is seeking the public's help in collecting dead birds to test for this season's arrival of West Nile virus.
"Anyone can help us track West Nile virus by submitting dead blue jays, crows, house sparrows, and house finches for testing," said Chris Evans, a Ph.D. entomologist with the DHEC Bureau of Laboratories.
"We are accepting submissions of birds and will continue to do so through Nov. 30," Evans said. "We ask that, first, you review the submission directions and photos of birds that are found on our website at http://www.scdhec.gov/birdtesting. By following those instructions, you can safely pick up and transport a bird to the closest DHEC county public health department for testing."
According to Evans, the public's involvement with dead bird surveillance covers a wider area and helps to identify the virus before it shows up in people. Birds that test positive for West Nile virus are reported to local mosquito control agencies so they can take appropriate action to protect public health. Mosquitoes feed on the blood of birds carrying West Nile virus and can subsequently spread the disease to humans. Public health officials recommend the following tips to make areas safer and reduce the numbers of mosquitoes that might spread the virus:
Additional information on mosquito-borne diseases can be found at http://www.scdhec.gov/mosquitoes. For updated information about recommended mosquito repellants, visit the CDC website at:http://www.cdc.gov/westnile.
Note to reporters and editors: A complete list of DHEC's county drop-off locations for West Nile testing is available by clicking on the South Carolina map shown on the agency's website, http://www.scdhec.gov/birdtesting.
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