Over 160 species of birds have been found infected with West Nile virus (WNV). The mortality rate of crows infected with WNV is very high. Because of this, we use crows as an indicator for WNV presence. Crows that are in good condition will be tested by the New Jersey Department of Health for WNV. NJDOH will only test birds that have not been dead for more than 48 hours.
If you have a freshly deceased crow, please call the Sussex County Division of Health at 973-579-0370.
Please notify the local health department of the address of the dead crow, as this information will be used for mosquito control and epidemiological purposes.
How to Dispose of Dead Crows or Other Dead Birds
- Specimens may be disposed of by double bagging them in heavy-duty, plastic garbage bags.
- Dispose of the bird in the garbage with your household trash. Secure bags tightly.
- Avoid barehanded contact when touching dead birds.
- Use a shovel or heavy-duty rubber gloves to pick up the bird and transfer it to the garbage bags. Make certain that the beak and claws do not puncture the bags.
- The bags may also be inverted over the bird - turned inside out with the bird inside. (See video)
- Scrub the rubber gloves with hot soapy water before you remove them.
- Wash your hands again after the gloves are removed. Wash the shovel in warm soapy water and leave it in the sun for several hours.
Residents in rural areas may choose to bury the birds. Make certain they are buried deeply so that dogs, cats, coyotes or vermin won't dig them up.
The Office of Mosquito Control will call you if the bird is confirmed positive.