Surveillance Plan for West Nile Virus in Hawaii
Dead Bird Surveillance
One of the ways an introduction of WNV into Hawaii could be discovered is by testing birds that have died for presence of WNV. Some wild bird species we have in Hawaii, especially native birds and house sparrows, are very susceptible to WNV. In studies done on the mainland with birds from Hawaii it was found that they become ill and die when infected with the virus. The Department of Health and its collaborators, with the help of private citizens, collect and test dead birds for WNV.
Wild bird surveillance in Hawaii consists of citizens reporting sick or dead birds to the health department or Aloha United Way 211 hotline. Birds that are suitable for testing are submitted to the State Laboratory Division to be tested for WNV.
to report it, or contact your local health department. The 211 operator will let you know if the specific bird is suitable for testing. There is no evidence to indicate people can get infected with WNV from handling infected birds, but sanitary precautions in handling any dead animal is warranted. This includes using eye protection, gloves or an inverted plastic bag to collect and contain a carcass that may be collected for testing or using a shovel or other tool to pick up a bird for disposal. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after bagging the bird (see,"How to Pick Up a Dead Bird").
If you live on Oahu,Kauai and now Maui and cannot drop the dead bird off at one of the collection sites, someone from Oahu Invasive Species Council (OISC) or Kauai Invasive Species Council (KISC) or Maui Invasive Council (MISC) will pick up suitable birds for testing. The 211 operator will give OISC, KISC, or MISC personnel your contact information and they will call you to make arrangements to pick up the bird. If possible please keep the bird in a cool shaded location until pickup.
All dead birds tested in Hawaii, so far, have been negative for WNV.
Dead Birds that are Good to test for WNV:
|House Sparrow||Please Submit|
|House Finch||Please Submit|
|Java Sparrow||Please Submit|
|Native Bird||Please Submit|
|Mejiro (Japanese white-eye)||Please Submit|
|All other Finches||Please Submit|
|Feral Chickens||Please Report|
|Migratory Birds||Please Submit|
|Game Birds||Please Submit|
|Shorebirds (Plovers) / Seabirds (Shearwaters)||Please Submit|
|Any Other Birds||Case by case determination|
* Owned Poultry include: ducks, geese, swans, turkeys, pigeons, doves, pheasant, grouse, partridges, quail, quinea fowl, pea fowl. If there are deaths of owned poultry please contact the Department of Agriculture. Days 808-483-7106; after hours and holidays 808-837-8092.
The above birds that are labled with Please Submit can die from a WNV infection so they are good candidates to test for WNV.
The birds with the "NO" rarely, if ever, die from WNV infection, so they are not good candidates to be tested for WNV. We still want to know when any dead bird is found, so please CALL 211 and report any dead bird that you may find.
Like humans, birds can die from various avian (bird) diseases we have in Hawaii such as avian malaria, poxvirus, botulism, trichomonas; poisons, exposure to the elements, trauma (cats, windows, cars, BB guns), they might even have forms of bird cancer, and old age. WNV is just one of many ways a bird can die.
Fortunately, we have NO WNV in Hawaii yet.
Collecting dead birds and testing them for WNV is one way we keep on the lookout for WNV.
RT-PCR = Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction
To date all dead birds submitted have tested we have NEGATIVE for West Nile Virus.