Anyone who finds a dead bird in the south of Sweden is now invited to report the findings and, in some cases, send the bodies of the National Veterinary Institute (SVA).
The reason is two closely related tropical virus – the West Nile virus and the Usuta virus – that can spread between birds and humans through mosquito bites.
The virus slowly goes further north. Last summer they were only found in northern Germany, so we think they will eventually reach Sweden, says Alexia Neumanne, a researcher at SVA.
For birds, viruses can be lethal – and at worst, entire populations are wiped out. The most sensitive are thrushes, owls and scrubs.
Therefore, we are especially interested if someone finds dead birds of these species or if you find several dead birds in the same place.
Most people and horses infected with the virus do not notice anything, but they can get flu symptoms, and in less than one percent this can cause serious illness.
Then there can be seen neurological disorders of the virus causing inflammation in the brain.
But anyone who wants to contribute to the researchers' collection should not worry about being contaminated with dead birds, because viruses are spread only with mosquitoes, says Alexia Neumanne.
But you never know why the animal has died, so always use gloves or plastic bags.