Why is the public urged to report dead birds?

The public is encouraged to assist in the efforts to detect and monitor WNV by calling the WNV hotline if they find a crow, raven, magpie, jay or hawk that has been dead for about a day. Birds play an important role in maintaining and spreading this virus. Mosquitoes acquire the virus from infected birds, and then transmit the virus to people. Evidence of the virus in dead birds is often the first indication that WNV has been introduced into a new region. The California Department of Health Services has set up a toll free hotline for the public to report dead birds: 877-WNV-BIRD. Birds can also be reported by visiting the West Nile Virus Information site.

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1. What is West Nile virus?
2. When was West Nile Virus first found in the United States?
3. Has West Nile Virus been detected in California?
4. How does someone get West Nile Virus?
5. What are the symptoms and treatment?
6. How can people protect themselves?
7. What is the state doing to control the spread of WNV?
8. Why is the public urged to report dead birds?