Tracking West Nile - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tracking West Nile

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KENNEWICK, Wash-- The Benton Franklin Health District wants you to report any dead birds you see.  Birds can carry the West Nile Virus and that's a growing concern for the Tri-Cities.

Last year the health district tracked West Nile in mosquitoes and birds as early as May, a good two months before previously found in Washington.  And it also reached people; the first human case was identified in Benton County, and there were nine total cases in the county last year.  One case in Yakima even turned fatal.  That's why it's so important you contact the health district if you see any dead birds.

"It helps us track where we find the virus is active.  It is a bird illness but it can be transmitted to people through mosquito bites.  So we really amp up our prevention message, so people know yes, it's active and in our community," explains Susan Shelton with the Benton Franklin Health District.

The health district is really concerned with big black birds--crows, ravens and raptors.   Those are the ones you'll want to report.  To contact the health district, call 460-HAWK (460- 4295).