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Sunday, Mar 01, 2015

Chicken tests positive for virus


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Hernando County Mosquito Control announced a sentinel chicken has tested positive for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.

The chicken is part of a flock located near State Road 50 and Ridge Manor Boulevard, in the landfill area.

This positive test result means that mosquitoes carrying the EEE virus are present in the area.

The county maintains several flocks of chickens throughout the county that are tested periodically to determine if they are carrying a mosquito-borne virus. The viruses are not harmful to the chickens, but they can be deadly to humans and horses.

EEE is a rare disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. It can cause inflammation of the brain and is serious in humans.

Mosquito control staffers are monitoring the area for mosquito activity, and all Hernando County residents are reminded to be vigilant about mosquito bite prevention. Horse owners are encouraged to have their horses vaccinated every six months to provide protection from this disease.

No human cases have been reported in Hernando County but anyone in the area where the virus is circulating can get infected.

The risk for infection is highest for people who live in or visit woodland habitats, and people who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities, because of greater exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes.

Symptoms of EEE in humans appear four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito occurs. Signs of infection include sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.

Here are some tips residents can take to protect themselves:

-Use mosquito repellent if outdoors during the daytime and evening hours.

-Wear long sleeves and long pants in the evening.

-Check property and dump out any standing water in flower pots, bird baths, pet water bowls, toys, lawn furniture or ornamental plants.

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