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May 27, 2009
For immediate release

Change in Monitoring of West Nile Virus


The Department of Health will no longer be providing a pick-up service for dead birds in the province this year.

“It is has been 10 years since West Nile Virus was first diagnosed in the New York area,” said Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Health Officer for the Department of Health. “For the past nine years PEI has been conducting annual testing in conjunction with the Atlantic Veterinary College and the virus has not been found in birds or mosquitoes on PEI. No resident of PEI has acquired the West Nile Virus here on PEI.”

Testing of crows, blue jays, and ravens over the past several years has resulted in no positive birds being found. Surveys of mosquitoes on PEI have found that the majority of the species of mosquitoes found in the province are not those likely to spread the West Nile Virus.

Residents may submit dead crows, ravens, and blue jays for testing if they bring it to the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre. The Centre is located at the Post Mortem receiving area of the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at Door 15. The Department of Health will continue to cover cost of testing of any dead bird submitted to the AVC.

Dr. Morrison reminds residents not to handle dead birds with their bare hands. A dead bird can be handled wearing protective gloves or by a plastic bag inverted over the bird. Wash your hands immediately after handling any dead birds.

Media Contact: Laura Jones
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