TOPPENISH - A dead magpie found in the Toppenish area has tested positive for West Nile virus.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, the adult magpie, one of the birds which are especially susceptible to the disease, was collected in early September and sent to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University for testing.
The magpie is the first West Nile virus-positive dead bird to be found in Washington state since 2002.
The magpie was collected and submitted for testing to the Yakima Health District, as part of the state's monitoring program. The program has tested 514 birds this year and the Toppenish bird is the only one which tested positive, so far, said Gordon Kelly of the Yakima Health District.
He said last week, the Benton County Mosquito Control District identified two mosquito samples that were positive for West Nile virus in waters near the Benton County-Yakima County line near Grandview.
County residents are reminded to eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, such as flooded pastures, clogged gutters and birdbaths or other water holding receptacles, to avoid mosquito-infested areas at dusk and dawn and to wear protective clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outdoors.
Additional protective advise can be found at www.bfhd.wa.gov.