Game & Fish Dept Watching For West Nile

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Bismarck – With summer in full swing, medical experts aren’t the only ones keeping an eye out for the West Nile Virus, so are Wildlife officials.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says they are well aware of confirmed cases of West Nile in Wyoming and Minnesota.

In fact, in Minnesota — at least three Loons have been confirmed to have been killed by the mosquito-spread virus.

There may be more, but officials say the bodies they found- were too decomposed to be tested on.

We spoke with the Department and they tell us, they’re concerned about several species of Grouse in the Southern portion of the state that might be prone to infection.

“You’re kind of reaching that critical mass where there’s a lot of mosquitoes out there, there’s a lot of animals that if they are infected, they’re starting to generate a lot of virus in their body and so kind of that virus burden on the landscape if it’s there if it’s a bad year, it’s going to start getting higher and higher,” said Dr. Charlie Bahnson, Wildlife Veterinarian for the ND Game and Fish Dept.

He adds if you do come across a dead animal such as a bird, you should always assume it may be infected.

And be cautious as you can– when disposing of it.

“If you find yourself needing to move a bird or throw it way, wear gloves, put it in a plastic bag, wash your hands after, just exercise some good common sense,” said Bahnson.

If you find several dead birds close together, he says you’re urged to call Game and Fish as soon as possible.

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