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Mosquito-Borne Virus Update (Nov. 10)

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Pinellas County Mosquito Control received confirmation of 11 additional positive results for St. Louis encephalitis in sentinel chickens since Friday, Oct. 25. There are now a total of 36 confirmed St. Louis encephalitis positive results.

The St. Louis encephalitis cases results were in chickens kept at the Clearwater Nursery in Clearwater (3), Cross Bayou in unincorporated Seminole area (4), the Keller Water Treatment Facility in Tarpon Springs (3), the North Highway Maintenance Yard in Palm Harbor (7), the Oldsmar Sewage Treatment Plant in Oldsmar (5), Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg (5) and Walsingham Park in Seminole (9).

There are still a total of six confirmed West Nile virus positive results.

The West Nile virus results were in chickens kept at the North County Maintenance Yard in Palm Harbor (1), the Oldsmar Sewage Treatment Center in Oldsmar (1), Walsingham Park in Seminole (3) and Lake Maggiore Park in St. Petersburg (1).

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Sentinel chickens serve as an early-warning detection system for mosquito-borne arboviral diseases and can signal the fact that mosquitoes carrying the diseases are present in the area. There are eight locations in the county where chickens are kept and tested weekly.

Residents are urged to be extra vigilant in protecting themselves against mosquitoes and in preventing mosquitoes in their yards by removing all standing water. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one quarter inch of standing water, so even small areas such as bromeliads, bird baths and small containers can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Residents should take the following precautions:

  • Empty water from old tires, flowerpots, 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.

In addition, the Florida Department of Health advises residents to follow preventive measures consisting of the 3 Ds:
  1. Drain standing water around the home.
  2. Dress in light colors and wear loose fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs.
  3. Defend yourself by using mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin, in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

By taking these simple precautions, residents can help reduce the number of mosquitoes and minimize mosquito-borne diseases. More information on controlling mosquitoes and a mosquito control request form can be found at the Pinellas County Mosquito Control website or residents can call Pinellas County Mosquito Control at (727) 464-7503. View a video on the PCC-TV YouTube channel.