The Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District (SMVCD) confirmed that a sentinel chicken tested positive for West Nile virus (WNv) antibodies. This is a sign of increased risk to people from West Nile virus. The chicken is part of a flock located in Anderson, CA.
The District maintains several chicken flocks in various parts of the District as disease sentinels. Blood samples are collected from these chickens and tested every two weeks. “When chickens are fed upon by infected mosquitoes they develop antibodies to mosquito-borne diseases. Detection of these antibodies provides a way to identify specific locations where mosquito-borne disease is being transmitted in nature,” explained Vector Ecologist, John Albright.
This is the earliest West Nile virus positive in a sentinel chicken in the District. “The last two years have shown strong evidence that our mosquito and disease season is starting earlier and lasting longer than before; this WNv positive chicken is further evidence that supports that idea,” said Peter Bonkrude, District Manager.
SMVCD staff urges residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites; reducing activity during the peak mosquito feeding times at dawn and dusk, wearing effective insect repellent, and staying behind screened windows and doors whenever possible.
Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District advises the public to implement the 4-Ds of protection:
Drain any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
Dusk or Dawn avoid outside activities.
Dress in long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are active.
Defend yourself and your home by using an effective insect repellent and dressing protectively when outside and making sure screens on doors and windows are in good condition.
For more information contact the Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District at (530) 365-3768 or www.shastamosquito.org
2015 Shasta County West Nile virus activity update: 1 dead bird, 1 sentinel chickens, 0 mosquito sample, and 0 humans have tested positive for West Nile virus to date. Statewide virus activity update: 23 Counties with WNv activity, 77 dead birds, 2 sentinel chickens, 119 mosquito samples, and 0 humans have tested positive for West Nile virus to 6/19/2015.