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Board of Health not testing dead birds for West Nile this year

Board of Health not testing dead birds for West Nile this year animatedmosquito.gif
LONGMEADOW The Longmeadow Board of Health will not be picking up dead crows and bluejays this summer for submission to the Massachusetts state lab for testing for infection with West Nile Virus. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has decided the testing of dead birds is not providing the most useful information for predicting the occurrence of human West Nile disease. Instead, the department will be relying on the sampling of mosquito pools for the presence of infected mosquitos. West Nile Virus Disease (WNV) is directly transmitted by mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus to humans through mosquito bites. Kindly refrain from calling the Board of Health with requests for the pick-up of dead birds unless several birds are found dead on a single day on a residential lot or in a wetlands area. Residents may dispose of dead birds found on their property by depositing the bird remains in a double plastic bag and disposing of this double plastic bag in the regular household trash. In 2009 there were no human cases of West Nile Virus Disease in Massachusetts and the number of cases and deaths nationally were considerably lower than in the previous two years. Despite data that would indicate that the risk of West Nile Virus Disease might be waning, the following recommendations still remain in effect for the summer of 2010 to reduce the risk of this mosquito-borne disease:
  • Remove any standing water around your residence; standing water can accumulate in empty flower pots and trash cans, bid baths and clogged gutters
  • Examine and fix any holes in window and door screens
  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, permethrin, IR 3535, or picari when you plan to be outdoors
  • Try to avoid exercising or other outdoor activity during the periods of sunrise and sunset when mosquito activity is high. If you choose to be out at those times of day, it is advisable to wear pants and long sleeves.

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