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The West Nile virus is carried long distances by infected birds and then spread locally by mosquitoes that bite infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then bite and pass the virus to humans and animals, primarily birds and horses.

West Nile virus has been detected in dead birds of at least 138 species. Although birds, particularly crows and jays, infected with West Nile virus can die or become ill, most infected birds do survive.

There is no evidence that a person can get West Nile virus from handling live or dead infected birds. Persons should avoid bare-handed contact when handling any dead animal. You can safely dispose of dead birds by picking them up with gloved hands or with a shovel, double bagging them in plastic bags, and disposing of them in the trash.

Links and more information:

Bird identification chart

• CDC bird species list
• Audubon Society
• US surveillance maps
• US Fish and Wildlife Service
• CDC animal information page
• Questions and Answers (CDC)
• West Nile Information Pages (Colo.)
• Print a brochure

For more information call the toll-free
Colorado West Nile Virus HelpLine

1- 877- 462-2911
Open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

CDC West Nile Virus InfoLines
English: 1-888-246-2675
Español: 1-888-246-2857
Hearing-impaired TDD: 1-866-874-2646

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