CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Health officials in Citrus County are warning residents about West Nile after several sentinel chickens tested positive for the virus.
The Florida Department of Health in Citrus County issued an advisory Wednesday morning about an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity in certain areas.
The advisory states several sentinel chicken flocks have tested positive for the West Nile virus infection. That means the risk of transmission to humans has increased, health officials say.
The health department is now reminding residents and visitors of Citrus County to take basic precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
They’re urging everyone to remember to “Drain and Cover.”
That means drain any standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying. Standing water can be found in garbage cans, gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers. You should also make sure to throw away old tires, drums, bottles, cans and other items that are not being used. Birdbaths and water bowls should be emptied and cleaned at least once or twice a week. Boats and vehicles should be protected from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
Cover means to cover your skin with clothing or repellent to reduce the chances of being bitten by a mosquito. Shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves are recommended clothes. Repellent should be applied to bare skin and clothing and used according to the label. Health officials say repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol and IR3535 are effective. Children younger than 2 months old should be protected with mosquito netting.
You can check the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for more information on different repellents and find which one is best for you.
The county health department and the county’s Mosquito Control District are both monitoring the West Nile situation and continuing prevention efforts.