County birds infected with West Nile virus triple this year

October 21, 2001

The number of birds found to have West Nile virus more than tripled this year compared with last, according to the Howard County Health Department.

Dr. Diane Matuszak, the county health officer, said 13 dead birds in Howard were confirmed as carriers of the virus this year, compared with four birds in summer 2000. The most recent case, a blue jay, was found Sept. 20 in the 8500 block of Ball Road in Ellicott City.

The arrival of cool weather, marked by several recent hard frosts, is expected to slow, if not stop, the spread of the disease until next year. Five humans have been found infected in Maryland, but none in Howard County.

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