West Nile Confirmed In Maryland Crows

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's (DHMH) lab has confirmed that two crows found in Baltimore and Howard counties have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).  The first crow was found in Relay on Sept. 13; the second crow was found in Columbia on Sept. 15.

Between Sept. 14 and Sept. 20, the State lab performed a series of confirmatory tests for WNV.  All tests were positive.  In addition, the first specimen's results were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fort Collins, Colorado for confirmation.  On Sept. 20, an official from the CDC confirmed the State's findings.  The second crow was confirmed positive by the DHMH lab today.  There have been no reported cases of people testing positive for WNV in Maryland.

“We will continue to work with other State agencies, as well as local and federal officials, to monitor the situation carefully to ensure the public's health and safety,” said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, secretary of DHMH.  “ Since this is the migratory season for birds, we are asking the public to enhance their surveillance for dying and dead birds of any species.”

Citizens are asked to call and report any dead or dying bird found to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' toll-free hotline at 888/584-3110.  Optimum specimens for testing are birds that have died within a 24 hour prior to calling the hotline.  Sunken or cloudy eyes and infested with fly larvae (maggots) are a good indicators that the bird has been dead too long for testing. If the call to the hotline meets the screening criteria, birds will be picked up for WNV testing.  In addition to testing 234 dead birds, the DHMH lab has also examined 2,965 mosquito pools.

For more information on surveillance efforts in Maryland, visit the Department of Agriculature's web site at http://www.mda.state.md.us/.

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