COLUMBIA -- South Carolina health officials want you to send them dead birds you may find.
“Everyone can help us track West Nile virus by submitting dead blue jays, crows, house sparrows, and house finches for testing,” said Chris Evans, an entomologist with the Bureau of Laboratories at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, in a statement.
But, reads DHEC informational material: “Please do not submit grackles, which are black or brown birds that look a lot like crows, but are much smaller (11-13 inches long), with a purple or green sheen to their head depending on the angle and light.”
From 2002-2011 there have been 705 confirmed cases, including 419 birds, 1 alpaca, 25 humans, 1 deer, 47 horses and mosquitoes from 172 pools.
Last year marked the lowest number of cases recorded during the 10-year period. In 2011 there were only 10, consisting of one mosquito pool in Hardeeville, another in Orangeburg and eight in Columbia, according to agency data.
The most were recorded in 2003 when there were 346 confirmed West Nile cases. Of that total, 282 cases were found in birds.
To cut back on mosquitoes, DHEC is offering these tips:
- Remove buckets, cups, plastic bags, tires or any water-holding containers.
- Do not allow water to stagnate in boats or on tarps.
- Flush and scrub birdbaths and pet bowls at least once a week.
- Clean leaves and debris out of roof gutters and spouting.
- Keep tight-fitting lids on trash cans, or if that’s not available, drill holes in the bottom of the can.