Pinellas County health officials announced Thursday that birds in Walsingham Park tested positive for a mosquito-borne disease that’s not yet been in the news.
You’ve heard about Chikungunya and West Nile. This one is called St. Louis encephalitis.
"The worst case symptoms [are] the stiff neck and a form of paralysis," said Pinellas County Health Department spokeswoman Maggie Hall.
Experts say encephalitis is similar to West Nile, as are the mosquitos that carry it.
"In terms of the ones that carry Chikungunya, they like to bite during the day. The mosquitos that carry St. Louis like to bite at dawn and dusk," Hall said.
Pinellas County is being proactive. It has tested mosquito-borne diseases through chickens.
"We use the information that comes back from the chickens to tell us if there's active virus in the bird population," said Glen-Paul Edson, an assistant operations manager with Mosquito Control of Pinellas County.
When chickens test positive, Edson and his team take action. For instance, they fogged two parts of Seminole Wednesday morning.
That’s where the so-called sentinel chickens tested positive. One was in Walsingham Park and the other in Cross Bayou.