WUFT News

West Nile virus detected in two sentinel chickens in Alachua County

By on September 21st, 2012

West Nile virus has made its way across North Florida through the Panhandle and Jacksonville in the last few weeks. The virus has now been detected in two sentinel chickens in Alachua County. No human cases have been reported.

“We had detected the virus across north Florida to the Panhandle all the way to Jacksonville, so it appears that it is starting to move south a little bit,” said Alachua County Health Department Administrator Paul Myers. “This is predictable. This is a late summer-, early fall-type of disease.”

Myers said the virus detection is significant since chickens are the county’s best indicators for the virus.

“The virus, while it does infect them, doesn’t kill them,” he said. “The virus replicates in their blood system very readily.”

Anthony Dennis, Alachua County Health Department’s environmental administrator, said chickens play a vital role in the prevention and detection of West Nile.

As an arbovirus, it’s transmitted from infected birds like chickens to mosquitos, then to other animals and humans.

Blood samples from sentinel chickens are sent to a Tampa lab once a week during mosquito season, Dennis said. Any samples detecting West Nile must be reconfirmed before results become public.

Dennis said in addition to chickens, the county also monitors mosquitos regarding population and species type.  He says certain species like  vector mosquitoes present different risks.

“That’s what we have occurring now: We have a large number of mosquito populations, we have the vector mosquitos, and now we’re seeing transmission,” he said. “So everybody needs to be aware and take precautions.”

Although the mosquito-bourne disease is preventable, Alachua County residents should follow precautionary measures.

Mosquitos breed in standing water, so residents should make sure areas like flower pots, boat covers, gutters and swimming pools are drained often and maintained properly. Even a small amount of standing water can be dangerous, Dennis said.

“Anything that can hold water for a period of a week or more can breed hundreds of mosquitos,” he said.

Mosquito repellent, wearing proper attire and being cautious during dusk and dawn can also help prevent contracting West Nile.

Right now, avoiding being bitten should be everyone’s top priority, Dennis said. West Nile can present symptoms including headache, fever, dizziness and fatigue and could lead to severe neurological symptoms. Anyone experiences any of these symptoms should contact a physician immediately.

Kelly Price edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Health and Science and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

dogpalsy

Community Provides Companion For Cerebral Palsy Child

Olivia Pitts, 3, has lived with cerebral palsy her whole life. Now, her community has pulled together to provide her with a service dog..


Jessica Grobman, born HIV-positive, said she believes better sex education in Florida schools would help children grow up safer and healthier. “If education was just more encouraged, it definitely could be a great outcome,” she said.  Photo courtesy of Jessica Grobman.

HIV Positive Student Advocates Comprehensive Sex Education

Jessica Grobman was born with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. But it was not until she learned about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in middle school that she began to understand she was different.


FTN-feature

UF Graduate Students Offer Free Therapy To Those In Need

Volunteer graduate students studying clinical health psychology staff the Free Therapy Night clinic at Gainesville Community Ministry. The equal access clinic focuses specifically on mental health.


UF_Shands

UF Health Shands Hospital Responds To Mold Discovery In North Tower

After a complaint from a cancer patient, UF Health Shands Hospital has removed mold from three patient rooms in the hospital’s north tower.


Selena Sattler searches for the grade of her favorite fast food location on What the Health. The app was recently released in Florida, allowing users quick access to local restaurant grades based on health inspections.

Mobile App Offers Restaurant Health Inspection Grades

An app called What the Health offers users instant access to health inspection data for restaurants in the area. Launched in Florida on Jan. 26, the app assigns letter grades for restaurants based on county health inspection findings.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments