Friday, September 21, 2001
Dead crow tests positive for West Nile virus
On September 17, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) informed the Carlisle Board of Health that a crow found on Brook Street on September 8 tested positive for West Nile virus. Since June, the board of health has followed up on twelve calls reporting dead or sick birds, with the majority of calls occurring in early September. Four birds were submitted for testing at the State Laboratory Institute. One bird tested positive, one tested negative, and two reports are still pending. The birds submitted included a sparrow, a chickadee and two crows. They were found near Brook Street, Acton Street, Bingham Road, and Barnes Place.
While most dead birds are not collected and tested for WNV, keeping track of their locations does play an important role in determining human risk. West Nile virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird which carries the virus. MDPH tests a sampling of dead birds received in order to obtain information on viral activity in a particular area. A number of area towns have found infected dead birds, so the finding in Carlisle is not unexpected.
Residents should continue to report dead birds to the board of health at 1-978-369-0283 or directly to the DPH hotline at 1-866-627-7968. Weekly surveillance reports are listed on the MDPH West Nile virus web site at www.state.ma.us/dph/wnv/wnv1.htm.
The board would like to remind residents of the need to continue taking precautions. Residents should remove standing or stagnant water in yards since artificial containers provide a breeding ground for some of the mosquito species thought to carry West Nile virus. It is also important to dress appropriately with a long-sleeved shirt and long pants during outdoor activities, use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET and follow label directions. Residents should avoid using repellents with DEET concentrations above 10-15 percent on children and concentrations above 30-35 percent for adults. Never use DEET on infants.
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