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WILD NATURE

West Nile Virus kills 27 bald eagles in Utah

One of four bald eagle that was brought into the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah but eventually died. Officials say 27 bald eagles have died since Dec. 1, and six others are being treated.AP Photo/Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah

State wildlife officials say West Nile Virus appears to be the mystery illness that's caused more than two dozen bald eagles to die in Utah this month.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says results of laboratory tests on some of the first birds found indicate they died from West Nile.

Officials say 27 bald eagles have died since Dec. 1, and five others are being treated at a wildlife rehabilitation center.

DWR says in a statement that it believes the eagles ate grebes that were infected with the virus.

The agency says the migration of the aquatic birds should be over soon so eagle deaths should stop.

It says the birds do not pose a risk to human health but people should not handle eagles if they find them.