Carroll bird tests positive for West Nile

Jay found in Sykesville

first in county this year

August 14, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A dead blue jay found in Sykesville is the first bird to test positive for West Nile virus this year in Carroll, according to county Health Department officials.

The bird was found in the 6500 block of Carroll Highlands Road and tested at the state health department laboratory, which this year has identified more than 100 birds with the disease - a large majority of them in the state's Washington suburbs.

Edwin F. Singer, assistant director of Carroll County's environmental health bureau, said birds from the county have been tested since the spring.

Because the virus can be transmitted to humans when mosquitoes feed upon infected birds, state and local health officials have asked residents to help eliminate standing water in their yards where the insects can breed. No human cases of the disease have been identified this year in Maryland, health officials said.

No evidence of infected mosquitoes has been found in Carroll County, officials said.

The Health Department seeks birds found dead with no apparent injuries for testing, Singer said.

"People can call to report birds that look like they died of natural causes, [but] birds that fly into windows or are lying by the road are not useful for testing," he said. The state usually stops picking up birds after a ZIP code has had two positive results, assuming the virus is present there, he said.

Crows are the most commonly fatally infected birds, but jays and raptors, such as hawks, also seem to be more prone to the virus than other types, Singer said. "The other birds tend to get infected, but they don't tend to die from it."

Residents should call the state hot line, 866-866-CROW, to report dead birds, he said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.