Southaven man worried about dead birds, West Nile virus

By Chip Washington - bio | email

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - A Southaven man recently became worried about West Nile virus after finding dead birds in his neighborhood.

Randy Turner enjoys being outdoors at his residence on Greencliff Drive, but recently an increase in the number of dead birds on his property became a cause for concern.

"I skimmed one out of my pool two weeks ago," Turner said. "A couple of days later I found a dead one between mine and my neighbors house. The next day, I found a dead one in my drive."

Turner also saw several more dead birds a couple of blocks away. Convinced this wasn't a coincidence, and that it might be something a bit more serious, he decided to make a call to the Mississippi State health department to find out.

He was surprised by the answer.

"They transferred me to a girl," Turner said. "She said, 'Where do you live?' I gave her my address, and she said, 'Yes, you're in a hot spot for West Nile virus. That's why the birds are dying.'"

But when Action News 5 contacted Mississippi's State Department of Health to verify, we received this response.

"At no time, has northern Mississippi been a "hotbed" for mosquitoes. In fact , it has had the least amount of WNV activity in the state," a spokesperson said.

Back in Southaven, Deanna McGan lives up the street from Turner, and has also seen a couple of dead birds recently.

"If there's something we need to be concerned about, then it needs to be brought out to everybody's attention that there's something going around," she said.

The spread of West Nile can be prevented by eliminated sources of standing water, and avoiding mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn.

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