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Birds here found to have WNV

By By BILL CRIST Publisher
While suspected to already be present in our county, tests on Tuesday confirmed that West Nile Virus (WNV) is here, and that people should take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
According to Ricky Elliott, environmentalist with the Escambia County Health Dept., two birds tests positive for WNV this week. A crow found at Bradley and a blue jay found at Appleton Road both died Monday, and were tested Tuesday.
In the past, local health dept. offices sent birds to the state lab for testing, but Elliott said a new procedure has been developed that allows for testing on a local level. That means that results are available much more quickly than in the past.
Elliott said he has tested 15 birds so far this year, and that 13 of them did not test positive for WNV. Blue jays, crows and raptors can be tested for the disease.
Elliott asked that anyone encountering a dead bird, regardless of type, contact the local Health Dept. at 867-5765 and report the bird's location. If the bird can be tested, the Health Dept. will pick it up or individuals can bring it to the office, located at 1115 Azalea Place, next to the Brewton Medical Center.
Elliott said care should be taken not to touch the bird, that gloves should be worn and it should be placed in a double-bag.
Elliott encouraged people to continue to follow 5 D's and to make sure other steps are taken around the home.
A female can lay 200-400 eggs at a time, and the eggs have a 10-12 day incubation period, Elliott said.