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Since I don't know anything about WNV in birds other than raptors, I checked with Dr Bermudez at the Diagnostic Lab here at the vet school. Below is his reply to me. On another note, to those of you who attended the Columbia Audubon meeting last week: I stated that we had 4 birds in the hospital with WNV (3 GHO, 1 RTH) and 4 birds whose tests were pending (3 RTH, 1 GHO). All 4 did, in fact, test positive. Of that second group, two of the RTH have died, and the other two are doing well. That makes our current positive count: 4 GHO, 3 RTH.
 
Also, I mentioned that blindness has been "an issue" with some of the birds who have recovered throughout the US, but that there isn't enough research to say anything more on that. One of our GHO is recovering nicely with the exception of its eyesight. Well, it seems that the bird is showing some response in both his eyes, so we're now hoping that it will make a full recovery.
Kristen Cage
Raptor Rehabilitation Project
 
 
 
Kristen
 
We have found that a variety of passerine species are susceptible to WNV.   My data base of birds positive for West Nile virus is very biased because the Missouri Department of health only pays for blue jays, crows, and raptors (as these are certainly the most susceptible species and the best sentinel animals).  In a brief review of my records I only had one house finch submitted and it was negative for WNV.  Other species that have died of WNV infection in MO are the eastern bluebird, yellow billed cuckoo, Chickadee (not sure which), house sparrow, and the purple martin.  I have heard that the species list for WNV in the USA includes 120 species so it is quite likely that a broad range of Missouri birds are susceptible for which I have not received samples.  I do not have a really good idea of the impact of WNV on wild bird populations and was hoping that the winter Audubon count might shed some light on that question. 
 
It costs $28.33 to do a WNV workup on a dead bird if anyone has a great desire to test a bird they find.  In these economic times I have no way of doing this work for free.
-----Original Message-----
From: sgriffaw [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 7:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Dead House Finches

Over the last six weeks, I have found five dead house finches in my yard.  Until this, I never had a dead bird except a dove from a window strike.  I am aware of a disease (sorry, I can't remember the name) that  birds can pick up from feeders, but the last two were found at least two weeks after I took the feeders down.  I did not see any crustacean around the eyes on the bodies.  Could this be West Nile related?  Would it be advisable to continue to keep the feeders down?  They have been of course cleaned.
 
Thanks,
Steve Griffaw  
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