Department Of Health Suggests Precautions Against West Nile

The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County’s early warning system for mosquito-borne diseases, the Sentinel Chicken Program, has detected West Nile Virus in the Belle Glade and Pahokee areas. Residents are advised to take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

“We are constantly monitoring for mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile Virus, Chikungunya and St. Louis Encephalitis. This confirmation of West Nile Virus is a good reminder for all to take the necessary preventive measures,” Department of Health Palm Beach County Director Dr. Alina Alonso said.

The last reported human case of West Nile Virus was in 2011.

To protect against mosquito bites, people are advised to drain any standing water from around their home or business, as mosquitoes leave their eggs in even the smallest water containers. Residents are also advised to make sure that windows and doors are screened properly, in good condition and to use air conditioning.

When outside, use an insect repellent that contains DEET or Picardin, wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

The Department of Health has sentinel chicken flocks strategically placed throughout the county from Delray Beach to Jupiter and from West Palm Beach to Belle Glade and Pahokee. These chickens donate blood samples weekly to be tested by the Bureau of Public Health Laboratory for the presence of mosquito-borne viruses. Chickens do not contract the disease but can carry the virus in their blood.

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, visit