A fifth Iowa county’s been added to the list of those where West Nile Virus has been confirmed in dead birds. State public-health veterinarian Russ Currier says it’s not unexpected.The disease is spreading in the bird-mosquito cycle that maintains the virus in nature. Doctor Currier says the health department is hoping people will be on the lookout this summer for wild birds that seem to have died of illness.He says people can call their local health department and each county has a pre-paid mailer to send birds to the state, and Currier adds once they find a case in any county they don’t need any more specimens. Normally migratory birds are protected, but Currier says you won’t get in trouble for handling a bird that’s destined for the health-department’s lab.He says federal law normally doesn’t let you pick up a dead crow, let alone ship it, but the interior department is relaxing its rules for this case. So far all the dead birds tested positive for West Nile virus have been wild ones, crows and blue jays. He says birds are sensitive indicators of disease activity, especially crows and blue jays. Currier says the virus has now been confirmed in Linn, Jones, Clinton, Scott, and Johnson County.
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