Local News

Two Birds in NC Test Positive for West Nile Virus

Posted October 18, 2001 10:28 a.m. EDT

— Two new birds collected by county health departments in North Carolina have tested positive for West Nile virus - a blue jay found in Cabarrus County and a crow found in Chowan County, state health officials said Thursday.

West Nile virus has now been found in nine animals this year in North Carolina. Other cases are: blue jay, Cabarrus County, tested positive Sept. 17; two crows, Camden County, reported Sept. 28; two crows, Currituck County, reported Oct. 9; one crow, Mecklenburg County, Oct. 9; and one horse, Hyde County, Oct. 9.

"It's important that everyone keep the health risks associated with West Nile virus in perspective," said Dr. Leah Devlin, state health director. "We now know that many people in the northeast were exposed to the virus and didn't even know it. That's because most people who are exposed to the virus never become sick."

The virus may cause flu-like symptoms in humans, such as headaches, swollen glands and muscle aches, as well as a rash. Although it usually only causes mild symptoms in humans, it occasionally may cause encephalitis, meningitis or death.

The disease is transmitted to humans when a mosquito bites an infected birth and then bites a human. It is not known to pass directly from birds to humans or humans to humans.