Water-Related News

WN virus confirmed in four sentinel chickens

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Pinellas County Mosquito Control has confirmed a positive test for West Nile virus in four sentinel chickens. Two chickens tested positive on Thursday, Nov. 19 - one at the North Highway Maintenance Yard in Palm Harbor and another at the Keller Water Treatment Facility in Tarpon Springs. The other two chickens – one at the North Highway Maintenance Yard in Palm Harbor and another at the Oldsmar Sewage Treatment Plant in Oldsmar – were originally tested on Nov. 2. and found to be positive after additional analysis.

With these confirmed positive tests, 51 sentinel chickens have now tested positive for West Nile virus in Pinellas County in 2015. Since July, the other positive tests have been confirmed in chickens in Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg, Oldsmar, Clearwater, Palm Harbor and Seminole.

Mosquito Control technicians continue to aggressively treat known breeding areas by ground and by air, and to respond to requests from residents. Additional fogging and treatment efforts are ongoing around where positive sentinel chickens have been located.

Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one quarter inch of standing water, so the following precautions are advised:

  • Empty water from old tires, flower pots, garbage can lids, recycling containers, boat tarps and buckets
  • Eliminate standing water near plumbing drains, air conditioner drips, septic tanks or rain gutters
  • Flush birdbaths and wading pools weekly
  • Flush bromeliads twice weekly or treat with a biological larvicide
  • Change the water in outdoor pet dishes daily
  • Keep pools adequately chlorinated
  • Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-eating gambusia fish
  • Cover rain barrels with fine mesh screening
  • Repair rips or tears in door and window screens

In addition, the Florida Department of Health advises residents to follow “Drain and Cover” preventative measures by draining standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying as well as covering skin with clothing and using mosquito repellent. For more information, visit pinellas.floridahealth.gov.

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County issued a health advisory after receiving confirmation of the first human case of West Nile virus in the county this year in August.

Sentinel chickens serve as an early-warning detection system for some mosquito-borne diseases and can signal the fact that mosquitoes carrying the diseases are present in the area. There are eight locations in the county where chickens are kept and tested weekly.

Mosquito control request form and additional information about stopping mosquitoes is available online. Residents can also call Pinellas County Mosquito Control at (727) 464-7503.

The Pinellas County “Doing Things for You” app is available for residents to report issues and access useful resources. Pinellas County can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. More information is available on the county website, www.pinellascounty.org, which features LiveChat for assistance. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.