LAPD: West Nile Virus Confirmed In Dead Bird In Los Alamos County


The Los Alamos Police Department’s Animal Control Unit has responded to multiple calls for service related to dead ravens and crows.  Approximately seven reports have been made to the Los Alamos Consolidated Dispatch Center (CDC) of dead birds in the downtown and western area of Los Alamos over the past week.

As a precaution Los Alamos County Animal Control sent one of the deceased birds to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Services to test for the presence of West Nile Virus on July 31.  The results of the test were received on August 3 and confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus.

Los Alamos County Emergency Management has been in contact with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management who are actively monitoring the situation.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health there is no evidence that West Nile Virus can be transmitted by touching a dead animal however, there are general recommendations to protect yourself.

LAPD Deputy Police Chief Oliver Morris informs the public to use precautions when disposing of any deceased birds or other wildlife in Los Alamos. 

“Use gloves, a shovel, and a plastic bag to dispose dead animals. If you’re uncomfortable disposing of a dead animal or bird on your private property or you encounter a dead animal or bird in the park or open space, contact the Los Alamos County Dispatch Center at (505) 662-8222. Animal Control Officers will be dispatched to respond to the situation,” Morris added.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health website, “West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that was first seen in North America in 1999. The most serious manifestation of West Nile Virus infection is fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in humans and horses, as well as mortality in certain domestic and wild birds. Cases of West Nile Virus in New Mexico have occurred every year since 2003. 

“The risk of acquiring West Nile Virus can be reduced by:

  • Using insect repellent
  • Reducing the amount of time spent outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • Having screens on your doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out
  • Emptying or eliminating water holding containers (where mosquitoes lay their eggs) such as tires, flower pots and buckets.”

For current year-to-date data and maps of reported West Nile Virus cases visit the CDC National Airborne Surveillance System (ArboNET), a national arboviral surveillance system managed by CDC and state health departments.