Pinellas County, Florida -- Pinellas County Mosquito Control confirmed positive results for St. Louis encephalitis in four sentinel chickens on Wednesday, August 27.
Three chickens were located in Cross Bayou in the unincorporated Seminole area and one chicken was located in Lake Maggiore in St. Petersburg.
Since the beginning of the year, Pinellas County Mosquito Control has received confirmed 17 positive results for St. Louis encephalitis – nine positive results in Cross Bayou, five positive results at Walsingham Park in Seminole, two positive results in Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg and one positive result in Lake Maggiore.
Mosquito Control technicians are aggressively treating known breeding areas by ground and by air, as well as responding to requests from residents. Additional fogging is ongoing in these areas.
St. Louis encephalitis differs from chikungunya, which is not detected in sentinel chickens but is also transmitted by mosquitoes. There have been three confirmed cases of chikungunya in Pinellas County this year. None of the cases were locally acquired. They were each imported from the Caribbean.
The public is urged to be diligent in ridding their properties of standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one quarter inch of standing water, so residents are advised to take the following precautions:
- Empty water from old tires, flower pots, 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.