Health officials advise public after Manatee chicken flock tests positive for West Nile

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County advised residents Friday that there has been an increase in mosquito-borne activity.

A sentinel chicken flock has tested positive for the West Nile Virus. While the risk of transmission to humans has increased, the Manatee County Mosquito Control District and DOH-Manatee are continuing surveillance and prevention efforts to help protect residents and visitors.

DOH-Manatee reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.

To protect against mosquitoes, the department urges the public to take the following steps:

  • Drain water from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated.
  • Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
  • If outside while mosquitoes are active, cover up with shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.\
  • Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with 10-30 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house by covering windows, doors, porches and patios with screens.

Tips on eliminating mosquito breeding sites:

  • Clean out troughs and gutters;
  • Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain;
  • Turn over or remove empty plastic pots;
  • Pick up all beverage containers and cups;
  • Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water;
  • Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week;
  • Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week; and
  • Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.

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