Dead birds, blood samples and mosquitos suspected of caring West Nile virus are often sent to the state lab in Raleigh.
"We've asked people anytime that they find birds that have died in their yard that don't have an obvious cause of death that they submit them to us for WNV testing," researcher Kate Volpe said.
First detected in the United States in 1999, the West Nile virus has spread to 34 states and the District of Columbia. Researchers said they have begun to find more cases in North Carolina than in years past. To date, the state has confirmed three birds from the Charlotte area with the disease.
"I think the important thing is to lower one's risk of getting the disease by having really good surveillance, knowing where the disease is prevalent and that's what our department is all about," N.C. State epidemiologist Dr. Jeffrey Engel said.
There is no vaccine for the West Nile virus. If you find a dead bird and would like to report it, you can call the state health department toll-free at
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