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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control wants the public to help them track the West Nile Virus this year.

The agency says they want people to submit dead birds, specifically blue jays, crows, house sparrows, and house finches for testing. Analyzing the birds helps DHEC identify the virus before it shows up in people.

Humcan can contract West Nilewhen mosquitoes bite infected birds and spread the disease to humans. However, if DHEC can find the disease quickly in a bird, it can alert local mosquito control agencies to take the appropriate action.

If you want to help, DHEC asks that you first look over a series of instructions that they provide so that you can collect the birds without risking your health. Those instructions can be found here: http://www.scdhec.gov/birdtesting

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