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CHARLESTON — Residents of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle can resume feeding birds, with certain precautions, the state Division of Natural Resources said.

Earlier this month, people living in Berkeley and Jefferson counties were asked not to feed birds until a problem with diseased birds subsided.

Wildlife managers were receiving reports of sick and dying birds, starting in May, the agency said Thursday in a news release. The cause of the problem hasn't been determined, but the agency is still monitoring and investigating.

The reports have continued to decline since July, the release said.

The division said it is lifting its recommendation to not feed birds in the area as long as bird feeders are cleaned weekly with soapy water and disinfected with a 10% bleach solution. Nearby states have also lifted the recommendation.

Anyone encountering sick or dead birds should contact the division's local district office for guidance. To remove a bird, use disposable gloves and place in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with trash.

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