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Four additional sentinel chickens test positive for St. Louis encephalitis | Health

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Four additional sentinel chickens test positive for St. Louis encephalitis
Four additional sentinel chickens test positive for St. Louis encephalitis

Pinellas County Mosquito Control received confirmation of positive results for St. Louis encephalitis in four additional sentinel chickens. There is now a total of nine sentinel chickens that tested positive for the virus.

Sentinel chickens serve as an early-warning detection system for mosquito-borne arboviral 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.

The sentinel chickens that were confirmed positive were kept at the North County Maintenance Yard in Palm Harbor (2), Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg (1), Walsingham Park in Seminole (3), the Oldsmar Sewage Treatment Center in Oldsmar (2) and the Keller Water Treatment Facility in Tarpon Springs (1).

Pinellas County Mosquito Control is aggressively treating the areas by conducting additional aerial and ground larviciding and is dispatching eight adulticide trucks five nights a week. Additional fogging is ongoing in these areas and throughout the county.

Residents are urged to be extra vigilant in protecting themselves against mosquitoes and in preventing mosquitoes in their yards by removing all standing water. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one quarter inch of standing water, so even small areas such as bromeliads, bird baths and small containers can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Residents should take the following precautions:

  • Empty water from old tires, flowerpots, 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 preventive measures consisting of the 3 Ds:

  • Drain standing water around the home.
  • Dress in light colors and wear loose fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs.
  • Defend yourself by using mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin, in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

By taking these simple precautions, residents can help reduce the number of mosquitoes and minimize mosquito-borne diseases.  More information on controlling mosquitoes and a mosquito control request form can be found at the Pinellas County Mosquito Control website:  www.pinellascounty.org/mosquito or residents can call Pinellas County Mosquito Control at (727) 464-7503. Link to video on the PCC-TV You Tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/pcctv1#p/search/0/QRXnhohPtsY.

For more information on Pinellas County services and programs, visit www.pinellascounty.org, now with LiveChat, or create a shortcut to www.pinellascounty.org/mobile on any smartphone. Pinellas County government is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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