Another responsibility of PCMCD is to monitor the presence of arboviruses, viruses which are transmitted by mosquitoes.
The viruses we currently test for using sentinel chickens are West Nile Encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis and Highlands J Virus.
Every week during the mosquito season, PCMCD staff draw blood from chickens located in cages distributed throughout the county.
The blood is then analyzed to determine if any disease-carrying mosquitoes have infected the birds. If a virus is detected, that area of the county is thoroughly inspected to find and eliminate mosquito breeding sources and any adult mosquitoes which may be present.
PCMCD works closely with Pasco County Health Department and the Florida Department of Health in monitoring for arboviruses that cannot be detected using sentinel chickens. These viruses include Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya virus. Adult mosquitos are caught and samples are sent in for laboratory testing to the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (BADDL).
In the event of arboviral detection, mosquito advisories and alerts are communicated to local agencies and authorities, warning residents to be aware of the risks and take the proper precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.