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Leon County Advises Residents To Dump Standing Water As West Nile Virus Found In Chickens

Florida Department of Health
Credit Florida Department of Health

Leon County’s Health Department is warning of an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in the area. There have been no human cases in Leon, but West Nile Virus has been found in some chickens.

Sentinel chickens are used to monitor viruses like West Nile that can be transmitted to humans. The chickens are monitored by a local mosquito control district. Labake Ajayi is an epidemiologist with Leon DOH

"The weekly surveillance of sentinel chickens can be used to detect the presence of infected mosquitos to detect the virus before it can spread to local human populations," Ajayi said.

Ajayi says when the virus is contracted by humans, about 80 percent of people won’t have any symptoms.

"About the 20 percent of people, or up to 20 percent of people who do become infected with the symptoms, they have maybe fever, headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting," Ajayi said. "And they can sometimes present with a rash on their chest, stomach or back."

There have been a total of 17 human cases of West Nile virus in Florida this year. In order to keep mosquitos away, the Health Department urges dumping all standing water around your property.

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Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.