West Nile virus found in Seminole County chickens; Residents on alert

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County health officials are urging residents to take precautions after three chickens in the area tested positive for the West Nile virus.
 
The county uses chickens to detect mosquito borne illnesses by placing them throughout the county and testing them weekly. 
 
The warning issued Friday by the health department includes mosquitoes, which could carry the virus. Officials are cautioning residents to pay extra attention when they’re near water or out at night.
 
“I’ve got a daughter that’s a high school athlete and she’s a runner,” said resident Nick Worrell. “She’s always in the trails and she'll spend an hour, hour and a half every evening out running.”
 
He plans to make sure his daughter uses more mosquitoes repellant.
 
Two of the chickens contracted West Nile virus in Geneva. Now, mosquito control is watching the area closely and will spray within a one mile radius.
 
“People that live in Black Hammock and Geneva, they need to take it very seriously, but
overall (the) community needs to take it seriously,” said Dr. Swannie Jett with the Florida Department of Health.
 
The last time a person contracted West Nile virus in Seminole County was nearly 10 years ago. There have been two cases so far in Florida where a human contracted the virus this year; those cases are near the panhandle.
 
The symptoms of the virus include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches and fever. It attacks the neurological system, Jett said.
 
The West Nile virus is more likely to be contracted from July through September.