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

IMG_2752

Parents Use Social Media To Share Experiences With Health Providers

After accusations of a Jacksonville dentist’s mistreatment of patients, some parents have turned to Facebook to voice concerns about dentists who will not allow them to accompany their child during procedures. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports there are no set policies mandating access during treatment.


Shane Owens

Woman Launches Facebook Page For Those Facing Medical Difficulties

Carly Strange was born with her intestines outside her body. To help others not feel alone, she created the Facebook page “The Many Faces of a Survivor.”


HIV Bill Establishes New Patient Screening Routine

Florida House Bill 321 is bringing HIV testing out of the shadows.  Signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on June 10 and put into effect on July 1, HB 321 streamlines the process of HIV testing in medical settings and establishes it […]


By leppyone (Nine-banded Armadillo) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Armadillos May Be Cause for Rising Leprosy Rates in Florida

Florida health officials are warning people to stay away from armadillos as they may be the cause of recent leprosy cases in the state. There have been nine cases reported in the last seven months, but none have been reported in Alachua.


Breastfeeding

Florida Hospitals Promote Breastfeeding

Hospitals around Florida are working to create initiatives to help mothers and future mothers with breastfeeding.The Florida Health Department connected with hospitals in 15 counties in June to participate in the Healthiest Weight Florida’s Baby Steps to Baby Friendly Initiative.


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