West Nile Virus reported in Hernando County

SPRING HILL, Fla. - Residents in Hernando County are being alerted to take extra precautions against mosquitoes after a sentinel chicken in spring Hill was found with the West Nile virus.

The chicken is located at the Hernando County sewer plant on US 19 and Spring Hill Drive (also Osowaw Blvd.)

The positive test means that mosquitoes carrying the virus are present in the area.

Although the mosquito population is low, residents are advised to wear repellent while going out during the dusk and dawn, when the West Nile mosquitoes are active.

Hernando County says you can reduce the chance of getting infected by following these simple steps:

*    Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. The repellent/insecticide permethrin can be used on clothing to protect against bites and can withstand several washes. Always follow the directions on the package.

*    Consider wearing long sleeves and pants when weather permits, especially from dawn to dusk when many mosquitoes are most active.

*    Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
*    Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they are not being used.

*    Horse owners are encouraged to have their horses vaccinated every six months to protect the horses from getting this deadly disease.

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