INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. - West Nile virus has been detected in sentinel chicken flocks in Indian River, Broward and Orange counties.
Mosquito control districts across the state monitor sentinel flocks to determine mosquito activity and what types of diseases the insects might be carrying. Although mosquito populations have been low this summer, Florida has seen a variety of illnesses, including a resurgence of dengue fever, which hasn’t been seen in the state for more than 50 years, and the first case of Eastern equine encephalitis in 30 years in Martin County.
Mosquito district officials have said the dry summer has concentrated mosquitoes and other animals in the few wet places, which can lead to disease.
West Nile virus can be spread to humans through mosquito bites.
Most people who become sick from the insect bites will have mild symptoms such as headache, fever, dizziness and fatigue, though more severe symptoms are possible.
Anyone with more severe symptoms should seek medical care immediately, because the diseases, in some cases, are life-threatening. One of every three people who contract Eastern equine encephalitis will die.
The best protection is prevention. Officials are urging people to avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes abound, and to cover as much skin as possible and use insect repellent when they are out. People also should clear their properties of anything that might collect standing water, where mosquitoes breed.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W . Scripps Company and Angie's List
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