June 26, 2002
HEALTH DEPARTMENT ISSUES GUIDELINES
FOR COLLECTING DEAD BIRDS
AND REPORTING OTHER CONCERNS ABOUT WEST NILE VIRUS
Charlotte, NC- The Mecklenburg County Health Department is releasing the following information in response to the flood of calls after a recently identified case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a blue jay collected in the County. The Health Department will continue to collect selected dead birds for analysis by the State Public Health Laboratory for this disease. These guidelines are offered to ensure the safety of collectors and follow dead bird sampling protocol for WNV.
Birds to be collected:
Only blue jays, American crows, and raptors (hawks, owls, falcons) can be submitted for laboratory analysis so only these birds are to be collected.
No other animals are currently being considered for WNV screening. All birds must be no more than 24-36 hours old since their estimated death or when they were found, and contain no visible damage, insect predation, odor, or decomposition. Birds older than 36 hours may be collected if the bird was refrigerated and meets the above conditions. Links to pictures of these birds may be found on the Health Department's Web site at
Reporting dead bird or mosquito problems in Mecklenburg County :