West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in a dead raven collected near Newport, Wash. Testing at the National Wildlife Health Center Laboratory in Madison, Wisc., confirmed the virus. This is the first WNV detection in Washington, according to the state Department of Health. There have been no human or equine cases of WNV acquired in the state.


“West Nile virus is moving west and has already been detected in other western states, so we have been expecting it to arrive in Washington,” said Jack Lilja, West Nile virus surveillance program manager. “We have a good surveillance system in place, and it worked.”


The raven was collected in Pend Oreille County and submitted by the Northeast Tri County Health District as part of the Washington Department of Health dead bird surveillance program. Many local and state agencies, as well as private volunteer groups, are participating in the surveillance work.


Lilja encouraged people to continue reporting dead birds to their local health departments for possible testing so the state health department can track the spread of WNV in Washington.


The Department of Health West Nile virus surveillance program is working with local health agencies and other state agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Ecology, and Fish and Wildlife on WNV surveillance, planning and prevention.