Nightly News   |  December 31, 2013

Bald Eagle Deaths Linked to West Nile Virus

Wildlife officials have discovered West Nile virus is responsible for killing more than two dozen bald eagles – the illness was contracted after the birds ate infected water fowl in Utah. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> wildlife officials in utah tonight have identified the mysterious illness that has killed more than 2 dozen bald eagles over the past few weeks, using the blood samples of the infected birds, officials now know what they're up against. nbc's miguel almaguer has more.

>> reporter: this test solved the mystery. brought to a wildlife rehab center in utah, today, blood work showed this eagle and five others being treated are suffering from west nile virus .

>> it is very rare, it is not something we've ever seen.

>> reporter: the disease has killed at least 27 bald eagles , it is believed they got infected after eating a water foul on the great salt lake .

>> there is not a lot we can do to manage it at this point, so we'll have to let the disease run its course.

>> reporter: with no risk to humans, officials believe the species will show no long-term effects from the virus.

>> so it is a bit scary to approach the bird.

>> reporter: for schulte and carter, relief.

>> we want to have the opportunity to try to get the eagle back to where it should be, it is a very special experience.

>> reporter: tonight the eagle is showing signs of recovery. this iconic bird is again a symbol of hope and strength. miguel