Sumter County was recently notified that one of its sentinel chickens tested positive for West Nile Virus. The positive sample was collected from a sentinel chicken located at the Sumter County Fairgrounds in Bushnell.
Sentinel Chickens are used as a way to survey for mosquito-transmitted diseases.
“Since chickens do not amplify the virus, they cannot infect other mosquitoes. We call this a dead end host,” said Dr. Caroline Efstathion of Vector Disease Control International. “So chickens are not adversely affected by these mosquito arboviruses. People with backyard chickens do not need to worry about them getting sick. Using sentinel chickens gives us a warning that the disease is present in the local mosquito population and allows us to take enhanced efforts to reduce the adult mosquito numbers.”
Mosquito control near the sampled area will have increased inspections, sampling and control efforts. Residents in the area will be notified that there is a heightened potential for infection in their neighborhood, that personal protection and yard sanitation is recommended.
Prevention is key in keeping mosquito populations under control; residents should drain any standing water around their home. When outdoors, cover as much of your skin as possible and use mosquito repellant.
Sumter County residents can also signup to receive notice when spraying will occur in their area via Sumter County alerts. To sign up, visit www.sumtercountyfl.gov/alerts.