Dead crow in Hamilton infected with W. Nile virus

Bird is first of 94 tested this year to have disease

May 25, 2001|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A dead crow found this month in the heart of Hamilton was infected with the West Nile virus, public health officials said yesterday.

The bird was found in the 3100 block of Gibbons Ave., near Harford Road, on May 18, said state health department officials and Dr. Peter Beilenson, the city health commissioner.

The bird was one of 94 that have been tested this year by state health authorities and was the first confirmed case of West Nile virus.

Authorities are taking a more restrained approach to fighting the virus than they did last year.

"Since this was before the migratory season, this was probably from an over-wintering mosquito," said Beilenson. He said this month that the city would not spray for mosquitoes every time an infected bird was found.

"There are ecological consequences about spraying. West Nile to date has simply not been a public health hazard. We haven't had a single human case," Beilenson said.

Barbara Williams, who lives with her family in the block where the dead bird was found, was worried about the disease after hearing about it last night. She has a pool, though it is covered, and she said she shooed away a seemingly injured crow last week.

"I think I'll spray my bushes. I don't want to get bitten by one," Williams said of the mosquitoes that spread the virus.

Anyone who sees a dead bird should call 866-866-CROW.

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