COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is asking for your help to track West Nile accross the state.
They want a certain species of dead bird to test it for the disease.
DHEC is requesting that residents report and/or submit recently deceased (non-injured, non-decayed) crows, blue jays, house finches, and house sparrows to local offices between mid-March and end of November.
They are discouraging you from bringing in grackles. They say grackles are black or brown birds, that look a lot like crows but are much smaller, with a purple or green sheen to their head depending on the angle and light.
The say mosquitoes become infected with West Nile after they feed on infected birds.
The mosquitoes then infect other animals (like people) when the bite them.
Signs of WNV in birds include weakness, sluggishness, shaking, seizures, an inability to walk/fly/perch, blindness, or lack of fear of humans.
HOW TO COLLECT A DEAD BIRD
Don’t touch bird with bare hands
Use gloves or doubled clear plastic bags. Turn the bag inside out covering your hand and invert it over the bird and seal it.
Keep bird cool until it can be put on ice or in refridgator. If it can’t be delivered with 24-36 hours – freeze it.
Download and complete DHEC Dead Bird Submission and Reporting Sheet and submit it with bird.
Testing result notifications will be returned in approximately two weeks.
DHEC is currently accepting bird submissions through Nov. 30, 2017. Instructions on how to safely pick up and transport a bird to the closest DHEC local county health department or Environmental Affairs office are available online at scdhec.gov/birdtesting.