Several weeks after a number of bald eagles began dying in large numbers in Utah, employees at the state’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the National Wildlife Health Center have concluded that the deaths were caused by widespread contraction of the West Nile virus. The precise origin of the infection is still being looked at, but it is likely that the disease was spread by mosquitoes during an earlier, warmer time of the year.
Although the virus has claimed the lives of 27 bald eagles in total since reports began, officials are stressing that there is no threat of infection for humans at this point. JoDee Baker, an epidemiologist working with the Utah Department of Health, notes that the mosquitoes which could be carrying the virus are inactive at this time of year anyway. Baker emphasizes that “there’s no risk to the public’s health.”
Written by Chris Bacavis