LOS ALAMOS COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – West Nile Virus was found in a dead bird in Los Alamos County, the police department announced Friday. The Los Alamos Police Department’s Animal Control Unit has recently responded to multiple calls for service related to dead ravens and crows.

About seven reports have been made to the Los Alamos Consolidated Dispatch Center of dead birds in the downtown and western area of Los Alamos over the past week. As a precaution, Los Alamos County Animal Control sent one of the deceased birds to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Services to test for the presence of West Nile Virus on Monday. The results of the test were received on Thursday and confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that was first seen in North America in 1999. Cases of West Nile Virus in New Mexico have occurred every year since 2003. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, there is no evidence that West Nile Virus can be transmitted by touching a dead animal however, there are general recommendations to protect yourself.

The risk of acquiring West Nile Virus can be reduced by:

  • Using insect repellent.
  • Reducing the amount of time spent outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Having screens on your doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Emptying or eliminating water holding containers (where mosquitoes lay their eggs) such as tires, flower pots and buckets.

Deputy Police Chief Oliver Morris asks members of the public to use precautions when disposing of any deceased birds or other wildlife in Los Alamos. “Use gloves, a shovel, and a plastic bag to dispose of dead animals,” he said.

If you want help disposing of a dead animal on your private property, or you see a dead animal in an open space, contact the Los Alamos County Dispatch Center at 505-662-8222.

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Los Alamos County Emergency Management has been in contact with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management who are actively monitoring the situation, according to the police department.