- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Public health officials are seeing the public’s help in tracking the arrival of the West Nile virus in South Carolina.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control says people can give the agency dead birds like blue jays, crows and finches for testing.

DHEC is accepting the birds through Nov. 30. The agency has information on its website to help people safely handle and transport the birds.

Officials say assistance from the public helps DHEC test a wider area and test for the virus earlier, before it shows up in humans.

Mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds, then spread the virus to people they bite. People bitten by an infected mosquito may become sick up to two weeks later with flu-like symptoms like fever, headache and nausea.

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Online: http://www.scdhec.gov/birdtesting