BROOKSVILLE — A sentinel chicken at a coop in Nobleton in northeast Hernando County has tested positive for the West Nile virus, prompting Hernando County Mosquito Control to step up inspections and treatment to control the insects.
The positive test result means that mosquitoes carrying the virus are present in the area. Mosquito Control has five flocks of chickens that are tested periodically for the presence of the mosquito-borne viruses, including Eastern equine encephalitis, which was discovered in July in a sentinel chicken in Ridge Manor.
While neither virus is harmful to the chickens, both can be deadly to humans and horses. There have been no cases of West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis involving humans in Hernando.
Mosquito Control officials urge residents to drain standing water and use mosquito repellent when mosquitoes are active. For information, visit hernandocounty.us/mosquito.