Birds can be an early predictor of the virus because they are likely to exhibit symptoms or die from the infection. The mosquito-borne virus can cause potentially fatal influenza-like symptoms in people.
Health officials say they're particularly interested in reports of crows, blue jays and hawks. Only bird carcasses that are whole, appear to be less than 36 hours old, do not have an odor and do not have maggots should be reported.
While there's no reason to believe a bird can directly infect a human with West Nile virus, health officials say people should wear latex gloves or use a plastic bag to move a bird carcass.
Residents can report birds to their local health department or the public health pest management section at 1-877-790-1747 or via e-mail at NCWNV@NCmail.net.
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