Encephalitis & West Nile in Black Hawk chickens - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Encephalitis & West Nile in Black Hawk chickens

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Both St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus have been detected in sentinel chickens in Black Hawk county.  The Medical Entomology lab at Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Public Health and University Hygienic Lab notified health officials this week. 

According to the Black Hawk County Health Department, detection of the virus is an indicator of transmission activity and is cause for concern in terms of human and animal health.  The chickens do not acquire the disease, can not transmit the disease and pose no risk to the public, the Health Department said.

The Health Department wants to remind people that the late-season mosquito species are more likely to transmit disease than the spring species.  They suggest the following precautionary measures:

- Limit outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquito activity is highest
- Clean birdbaths and water bowls frequently
- Empty or drain any standing water
- Wear mosquito repellent (30% DEET is most effective)
- Empty unused wading pools, check tarps covering firewood and boats for standing water
- Get rid of old tires
- Repair outdoor leaky faucets
- Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside for long periods of time when mosquitoes are most active

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