Local health officials on Friday repeated warnings to residents about the presence of West Nile Virus in Pinellas County this year, saying they have recorded 19 positive tests showing the mosquito-borne illness in sentinel chickens to date.
The chickens, which are not sickened by West Nile, act as indicators for the county, a sort of first-line defense. Officials test the chickens each week at seven locations scattered around Pinellas.
Some basic mosquito tips, passed along by the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas:
• Drain standing water from spots like garbage cans and gutters.
• Use tarps that don't accumulate water on boats and cars.
• Maintain and chlorinate swimming pools.
• Wear comfortable long pants and sleeves in areas with lots of mosquitoes.
• Use mosquito repellent.
• Make sure screens and doors are closed and working to keep mosquitoes out of homes.