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Health officials notice increased activity of West Nile virus in Sarasota County

No human cases have been reported, according to the Florida Department of Health.

An advisory for mosquito-born illnesses was issued Friday after some chickens located in Sarasota County near North Port tested positive for West Nile virus, the Florida Department of Health announced

The chickens, known as sentinel chickens, are used to monitor mosquito-transmitted viruses because they do not become sick nor can they spread viruses such as West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis, according to the agency. 

No human cases have been reported in the county, however, the department says Sarasota County Mosquito Management Services and DOH-Sarasota will continue surveillance and prevention efforts.

According to the department, the West Nile virus can affect the central nervous system and cause serious illness. 

The department says residents should remember to "Drain and Cover" to avoid being bitten:

  • DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
  • COVER skin with clothing or repellent.

More information on how to protect yourself from mosquitos can be found here

For more information about Sarasota County Mosquito Management Services, visit https://www.scgov.net/government/health-and-human-services/mosquito-management-services or call 941-861-5000.


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