County Confirms West Nile Virus Found
Pinellas County Mosquito Control received confirmation of positive results for St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus. There are now a total of 15 St. Louis encephalitis and three West Nile virus cases found in sentinel chickens in Pinellas County. There are no human cases reported.
The West Nile virus cases were in chickens kept at the North County Maintenance Yard in Palm Harbor, the Oldsmar Sewage Treatment Center in Oldsmar and Walsingham Park in Seminole.
The St. Louis encephalitis cases were in chickens kept at the Clearwater Nursery in Clearwater (1), the Keller Water Treatment Facility in Tarpon Springs (1), the North Highway Maintenance Yard in Palm Harbor (5), the Oldsmar Sewage Treatment Plant in Oldsmar (3), Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg (1) and Walsingham Park in Seminole (4). *
Pinellas County Mosquito Control is aggressively treating the areas by conducting additional aerial and ground treatments of mosquito larvae and dispatching eight trucks to eradicate adult mosquitoes, seven nights a week. Additional fogging is ongoing in these areas and throughout the county.
Officials said that the increased numbers of positive tests do not indicate an increase in the presence of the viruses. There are eight locations in the county where chickens are kept and tested weekly, with seven chickens in each coop. As one is removed for more testing, a new one is put in its place. The chickens that tested positive this week were not replacements and the effects of the mosquitoes on them are not considered new.
A mosquito-borne advisory issued by the state Department of Health last week is in effect because tests on sentinel chickens were confirmed positive.
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. View a video on the PCC-TV YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/pcctv1.