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Keep watch for birds killed by West Nile virus

West Nile virus was found in a prairie falcon in Emery County last week.

This is the first detection of West Nile virus in Emery County.

In addition to the prairie falcon, West Nile virus also was found recently in a magpie in Utah County and a magpie in Grand County. Samples from the affected birds were submitted to the Utah Public Health Laboratory for testing, and all were positive for the virus.

Wild bird surveillance will continue throughout Utah as needed.

Wild birds continue to be important indicators of West Nile viral activity in local communities. Viral activity in birds is often detected before human illness. The Division of Wildlife Resources encourages the public to participate in Utah's Wild Bird Surveillance program.

Anyone seeing an ill or dead bird in his or her area should contact the nearest DWR office.

Target species for testing in the 2005 season include birds of the Corvid family (ravens, crows, jays, etc.), raptors and other species that may be exhibiting neurologic symptoms.

It is important to note that not all birds may be suitable for testing. To determine if a bird is suitable for testing, follow these guidelines:

Is the bird a target species? Is it a raven, crow, jay, bird of prey or does the bird appear to be ill or dying?

Has the bird been dead less than 24 hours? Birds that have been dead longer than 24 hours appear decayed and are not suitable for testing.

Is there no other obvious cause of death, such as a window strike, cat-kill or collision with a vehicle?

For those with access to the Internet, the DWR has provided an online submission form to make reporting dead birds more convenient. More information regarding wild bird surveillance, including a bird identification page and the online submission form, can be found at:

Since people may become infected through the bite of an infected mosquito, personal protection is key. West Nile virus can result in serious disease or death. It is important to follow these recommended procedures:

Use mosquito repellents with DEET or Picaridin, especially from dusk to dawn. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active during this time.

Make sure window screens and screened doors are in good repair. Small holes will allow mosquitoes to enter.

Change water regularly — every 2-3 days — in birdbaths, outdoor pet dishes, etc.

Aerate ornamental ponds or contact your local mosquito abatement district regarding treatment options.

Eliminate standing water around the home in locations such as old tires, cans, poorly kept swimming pools or any other source where stagnant water accumulates.

For more information on personal protection and minimizing mosquitoes around your home, visit: