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Chickens across Lee County testing positive with West Nile virus

Posted at 10:19 PM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 22:19:38-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County Mosquito Control District is trying to keep people safe from mosquito borne illness by testing chickens. Recently multiple chickens across the county have tested positive with west nile virus.

“The arbovirus advisory that was put out, that has to do with our sentinel flocks of chickens, that are located all throughout the county where we have had quite a few positive samples come back,” said Eric Jackson, Deputy Director, Public Information and Education, Lee County Mosquito Control District.

Lee county mosquito control has 17 locations across the county with chickens that are tested year round for west nile virus, “because it’s easy to test for antibodies and they are viremic,” said Jackson

Jackson says this time of year is when they see a spike in mosquito spread viruses, “we have more and more birds that are migrating, so September is really the peak month for arbovirus here in lee county.”

Luckily mosquito counts are down, but the health department still putting out a warning, “to bring about a heightened awareness of what citizens should do to protect themselves,” said Jackson.

If you eat chicken Jackson says you can’t contract West Nile. The disease is spread through saliva of the mosquito to the host by entering the bloodstream.

Health officials encourage people to wear repellent, drain standing water, and cover doors or screens to keep mosquitos outside.

“It’s starting to cool a little bit and that’s what we are looking forward to is that cool weather that will knock down mosquitos and stop this from happening,” said Jackson.