West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in at least 48 species of mosquitoes, over 320 species of birds, at least 2 species of reptiles, and more than 25 mammalian species, includin
Experimentally, it was found that this may be possible.
Under normal conditions, humans are unlikely to be infected with West Nile Virus by handling a sick or dead animal. However, there are a number of other infections that could potentially result from handling an animal.
Signs of infection in wildlife, like in humans, can range from no symptoms to severe symptoms of neurologic illness.
I am a wildlife biologist/birdbander/rehabilitator and handle live birds on a regular basis. Should I be concerned about exposure to West Nile Virus?
Bird-to-human transmission of West Nile Virus is extremely rare and is only possible through contact with blood or other tissues of infected animals.
I have a bird feeder [or birdbath] in my yard. Am I putting myself and healthy birds at risk of infection?
West Nile Virus is most often spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. However, it’s always a good idea to follow basic hygienic procedures. Birdbaths and feeders should be washed or disinfected regularly.
I'm not seeing the numbers of birds that I have seen in previous years. Is this because of West Nile Virus? Are some bird species going to disappear completely?
There is a nation-wide decline in many bird species. This has been documented in annual Christmas Bird Counts, Breeding Bird Surveys, and reports from bird enthusiasts.
If birds are the natural host for West Nile Virus, why is the virus being detected in so many dead birds?
Since West Nile Virus (WNV) was not detected in the Western Hemisphere until 1999, native bird populations in the U.S. were not previously exposed to the virus.
At this time, there is not a West Nile Virus vaccine approved for use in birds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with several organizations and laboratories, is developing and testing vaccines for use in birds.
There have been many reports of new mammalian species infected with West Nile Virus (WNV) this season, such as goats, reindeer, a wolf, and dogs. Has the virus changed?
It is possible that there may have been a mutation in the virus that is causing a higher number of species to be affected this year. There is currently no evidence of significant mutation in the U.S.
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