West Nile Virus Detected In King County

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A dead crow found in Seattle's Laurelhurst neighborhood on August 24th is positive for West Nile virus. This is the first West Nile positive finding in King County in 2009, and confirms that people are at risk for contracting West Nile virus this year in King County.

"There are still mosquitoes outdoors during the cooler fall months, so protect yourself against mosquito bites," said Dr. Sharon Hopkins, Public Health veterinarian for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "The risk of contracting West Nile virus is not yet over for this season."

The bird found August 24th means that King County's first positive surveillance findings come several weeks earlier in the season than last year, when Public Health found a positive bird on September 15th. This means that there is a longer period this year with risk of West Nile virus transmission to humans.


Public Health's Zoonotic Disease Program collected the bird through its surveillance program for testing at the Washington Animal Diagnostic Disease Laboratory in Pullman.

The Zoonotic Disease Program works to protect the public from insect and animal-borne diseases. The program's budget was severely cut back this year due county budget challenges and mosquito testing was eliminated. However, dead crows continue to be tested. The WNV-positive bird reported today is the 35th King County bird tested so far this year.

West Nile in Washington State in 2009

A Klickitat County resident was confirmed with West Nile virus in 2009. Fifteen birds, 32 horses, and 326 positive mosquito pools have also been found state-wide.