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DEAD CROW IN AMHERST HAD WEST NILE VIRUS

The first dead crow infected with West Nile virus in Erie County this year has been found in Amherst, Erie County officials said Thursday.

The crow was found near the intersection of Wehrle and Lamarck drives, said Deputy County Executive Carl J. Calabrese. It was tested at state labs in Albany.

Calabrese said the infected crow was a hatchling, meaning it did not travel far and must have originated in the nearby area.

"It was a baby. We know it was contained in one area," said Calabrese. "We're going to have our folks out with extra traps to see what we can do in this area."

The crow is the first to be found this year in the county. Last year, when West Nile was first detected in Erie County, many crows were found to contain the virus.

Both the dry summer this year and the county's aggressive campaign against mosquitoes and mosquito larvae are being credited for the drop in cases of West Nile virus this year.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne infection that can infect humans, though the virus is usually first seen in birds, which are more susceptible to the disease. It can be fatal to humans, though it is treatable with antibiotics. It generally causes flulike symptoms, headaches and muscle aches.

Calabrese said the county will continue the anti-mosquito program that began last year. However, once temperatures start dropping below 50 degrees at night, the mosquito problem will be over for the year, he said.

"We're almost at the end of the season," he said. "But this disease is out there, and we know it's not going to go away."

Calabrese said homeowners are being asked to "police their own back yards" for standing water and to get rid of it. Standing water is a key breeding ground for mosquitoes, he said.

e-mail: cvogel@buffnews.com

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