A crow found dead at Fire Island National Seashore in New York had been infected with West Nile Virus, according to tests.
The crow was found by National Park Service biologists on August 31 at Blue Point Beach. They were conducting routine monitoring in the maritime forest there when they came across the dead crow. The crow was sent for lab testing, per Seashore protocol. The results showed that the crow tested positive for West Nile Virus. The collection and testing was a collaborative effort between the Seashore and Suffolk County Department of Health Services – Arthropod-Borne Disease Laboratory.
For the 2023 season, all mosquitos collected on Fire Island have tested negative for West Nile Virus. The seashore, along with Suffolk County, will continue its weekly surveillance program to monitor the severity and extent of WNV within the boundary of the Seashore. Due to the recent discovery of the crow and per the Seashore’s Mosquito Monitoring Protocols, there will be increased surveillance at numerous sites on Fire Island.
If threats to human health are identified, actions to protect the public may need to include control methods such as larviciding, spraying, or area closures. The National Park Service works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Suffolk County Department of Health Services – Arthropod-Borne Disease Laboratory, Suffolk County Vector Control, and local Fire Island and Long Island municipalities to determine the best course of action to protect residents, visitors, and employees of the Seashore. The public will be notified 24 hours in advance of any spray event.
If you find a dead bird specifically a crow, a raven, a blue jay, an American robin, or a raptor (osprey, eagle, hawk, vulture, or falcon) you should call Suffolk County Department of Health Services – Arthropod-Borne Disease Laboratory at (631) 852-5255.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Visitors should take precautions to reduce exposure to the virus by avoiding areas with high densities of mosquitoes. If contact with mosquitoes is unavoidable, it is advisable to minimize outdoor activities when mosquitoes are active, wear protective clothing (long sleeved shirts, socks, and long pants) and use effective insect repellent, such as one containing at least 30 percent DEET. People most at risk of becoming ill are those over 60 years of age or whose health is impaired.