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Mosquito Chickens Prevent Diseases in SWFL, West Nile Virus

5:38 PM, Sep 06, 2018

Did you know that Lee County uses chickens to test for mosquito-spread diseases in the area?

Lee County Mosquito Control District (LCMCD) has 17 coops around Lee County that are regularly tested for diseases like West Nile Virus. If a chicken is bitten by a mosquito with one of those diseases, it would show up on the blood test and LCMCD would know and begin treating that area.

“We have a flock of chickens that we keep in different strategic locations around the county and then we can take blood samples from those chickens to see if they are developing antibodies to the virus,” said Eric Jackson of LCMCD.

They draw the chicken’s blood twice a month to see if any birds have been infected.

“If we find a positive case, we’re treating right away,” said Jackson. In addition to treating that area for those mosquitoes, they also test the chickens weekly to help monitor their progress.

This chicken program is used all across the US. Unlike a lot of other counties, Lee County has the lab equipment to test the blood right on their property. This eliminates the need to send the blood samples to the state and wait for results.

They check the samples themselves and get results almost instantly. That way, if there was an outbreak they would be able to contain it a lot faster than if they had to wait for lab results.

“We have a flock of chickens that we keep in different strategic locations around the county and then we can take blood samples from those chickens to see if they are developing antibodies to virus,” said Eric Jackson of the Lee County Mosquito Control District.

Want to keep track of updated numbers? Here’s a link. https://www.lcmcd.com/what-we-do/disease-surveillance/

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