Division Of Health Begins Statewide Surveillance For West Nile Virus

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West Nile Virus

The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services has begun its statewide surveillance for West Nile Virus in wild birds.

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Human serum and spinal fluid specimen testing for the virus is ongoing throughout the year. Mosquito surveillance will begin in June.

The 2007 WNV surveillance program will include the testing of crows, bluejays, robins, hawks, and owls since these birds have been determined to be major carriers of the virus in wild bird populations. These wild birds may die if infected with the virus, and act as indicators for the presence and spread of the West Nile Virus in our environment. Arkansans are encouraged to assist in this surveillance for this virus by bringing dead crows, bluejays, r obins, hawks, and owls to their local health unit for laboratory testing. Arkansans are also encouraged to report die-offs of other wild bird species statewide, and these incidents will be investigated to determine if they might indicate the presence of West Nile Virus or other diseases affecting humans.

Residents should take the following steps when they want to submit a dead crow, blue jay, robin, hawk, or owl to the Division of Health for testing:

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