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Disease Monitoring

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, and St. Louis Encephalitis.

Throughout most of the year, PCMCD staff draw weekly blood samples from sentinel flocks located in coops distributed throughout the county.

Each blood sample 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 any mosquito breeding sources and adult mosquitoes of species associated with the arbovirus.

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, chikungunya virus and malaria.  Adult mosquitos are captured and samples are sent in for laboratory testing to the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (BADDL). Each year, we are seeing more and more travel-related cases of these exotic diseases throughout the state. Local transmission is a serious concern as the mosquito species necessary for transmission are well-established throughout the county and the rest of Florida.

In the event of arboviral detection, additional surveillance and control efforts are launched, mosquito advisories and alerts are communicated to local agencies and authorities, warning residents to be aware of the risks and to take the proper precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.