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Can hunters get West Nile Virus from eating infected game birds?

Some game birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). However, there is no evidence of human infection by consumption of properly cooked infected game. Hunters are likely at higher risk of infection by mosquito exposure, particularly in wetland environments. Protective measures should be taken to prevent mosquito exposure while hunting. There are extremely rare cases of laboratory workers contracting WNV through accidental exposure to infected tissues and blood, so hunters should wear gloves when dressing (cleaning) the birds to protect against accidental injury and exposure to blood. Consult with a physician immediately if an injury occurs to discuss the risk of WNV exposure. To prevent exposure to any infectious organisms carried by game species, hunters should wash hands with soap and water after handling carcasses and should thoroughly cook the meat.

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