Bald eagles killed by West Nile in Utah got virus from dead birds

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Image courtesy Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY – Officials recently confirmed that numerous bald eagles in Utah were killed after they contracted West Nile Virus, and officials have now said the birds got the virus from scavenging dead birds for food.

In December, officials confirmed the 27 birds that had died so far had died due to West Nile Virus.

Officials with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah said dead grebes had the virus, and that because bald eagles often eat the dead birds, the eagles picked up the virus. A grebe is a bird that often stops at the Great Salt Lake as part of their winter migration.

Officials said there is little risk of humans contracting the disease, but they said people shouldn’t touch dead birds or birds that look like they may be ill.

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