I found a dead mourning dove in my yard the other day. Could it have died from West Nile Virus? I haven’t heard much about it this summer.
There are a variety of reasons why the morning dove could have died. West Nile virus may be a possibility. West Nile virus can infect 280 species of birds. The virus is most lethal to crows and blue jays. To determine if West Nile virus is in an area, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDHP) tests only dead blue jays and crows. If you do find a dead crow or blue jay in a county without a confirmed case of West Nile virus, contact your local county health department. As of August 8, 2005, West Nile virus has been confirmed in eight counties in Iowa. The virus has not been documented in Polk County yet. West Nile Virus activity usually peaks in August and September which is probably why you haven’t heard much about it.
The virus has been documented in Iowa since 2001. Since then, every county in Iowa has reported signs of West Nile, either in a human, animal or mosquito. It is mainly transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus while feeding on a West Nile virus infected bird. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed. IDPH offers a toll-free hotline for Iowans to receive information about West Nile. That number is 866-WNV-Iowa (1-866-968-4692).