West Nile virus is closely linked to birds. When it first appeared in 1999 some rare species of birds died suddenly in a New York zoo. At the same time, several people came down with encephalitis (a disease which affects the brain). It was later found to be West Nile virus, a virus never before seen in the United States. It is called “West Nile” because it was first identified in the West Nile sub-region in the East African nation of Uganda in 1937. Over the next five years, the virus spread across the continental U.S., north into Canada, and southward into the Caribbean Islands and Latin America. WNV is now in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and in the U.S.
Currently in the U.S., we are experiencing one of the worst epidemics. The disease has been reported in people, birds or mosquitoes in 48 U.S. states.
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.