Brooksville, Florida -- Hernando County Mosquito Control announced Thursday a chicken in the Brooksville area tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
The county tests its five flocks of chickens throughout the county periodically for mosquito-borne viruses. In this case, the chicken that tested positive was on South Mildred Street and officials say residents should be aware that there are mosquitoes in the area carrying the virus.
The rare disease caused by the virus does not have any affect on chickens but can be deadly to humans and horses.
Back in September, USA TODAY reported that this year's outbreak of the virus was the worst officials had seen since it was discovered in the U.S. in 1999. On Aug. 31, the first human case was reported in Hillsborough County since 2004.
Residents should know that no human cases of the virus have been reported in Hernando County but anyone in the area where the virus is present can be affected. Those living in, or who visit woodland areas, along with those who work outside are at the highest risk.
Symptoms of West Nile virus in humans appear 4-10 days after exposure and include sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.
Mosquito control staff are stepping up inspections and treatment in the Brooksville area and want to remind all county residents and visitors to be vigilant about mosquito bite prevention.
Residents may call the Mosquito Control Department at (352) 540-6552 to request mosquito control services. For additional health-related information, please visit www.cdc.gov.
For additional mosquito control information, please visit http://www.hernandocounty.us/mosquito/.