West Nile Detected In Sentinel Chickens

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For the first time this year, West Nile Virus has turned up in sentinel chickens monitored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources.

This discovery involved a group at a sentinel chicken station in northern New Castle County, one of about 20 monitoring stations statewide.

According to DNREC, there have been no reported cases of West Nile in humans so far this year in Delaware, but the possibility of contracting mosquito transmitted diseases such as West Nile or Eastern Equine Encephalitis will continue until cooler temperatures move in.

Delawareans are advised to take common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10-to-30-percent DEET in accordance with label instructions, and avoid mosquito-infested areas and times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn and at night.

DNREC reminds the public to take common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10 to 30% diethyl toluamide (DEET) in accordance with label instructions and avoiding mosquito-infested areas and times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn and at night.

DNREC also provided additional guidance below:

Spraying to reduce mosquito populations in areas where WNV or EEE is detected may be initiated by the Mosquito Control section as warranted based on factors to include mosquito population levels and mosquito species present. To reduce mosquito-breeding habitat and chances of disease transmission, residents should drain or remove outdoor items that collect water, such as discarded buckets or containers, uncovered trashcans, stagnant birdbaths, unprotected rain barrels or cisterns, old tires, upright wheelbarrows, flowerpot liners, depressions in boat tarps, clogged rain gutters, corrugated downspout extenders and unused swimming pools.

The state veterinarian within the Department of Agriculture urges horse owners to contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to have horses and other equines vaccinated against WNV and EEE. Neither disease has a specific drug treatment, and infections in horses are fatal in 70 to 90% of EEE cases and in 30% of WNV cases.

More information about mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases is available from the following resources:

  • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the DNREC Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.
  • For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section, at 302-698-4500.
  • To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 888-295-5156.
  • For more information on West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.  
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