The avant-garde of the fight against some deadly illnesses in Lie County is a squad of 102 members strategically placed across its 785 square miles of land.
This herd of winged soldiers bleeds to keep residents and visitors safe, but their gentle weekly bloodshed is released until they are released into the barracks where all-you-can-eat Chau awaits. It lasts for a few seconds.
These days, their reconnaissance is especially valuable. Last month, thanks to their work, health officials were able to warn residents of the arrival of a potentially deadly West Nile virus.
Lee tests chickens for antibodies to several diseases, including the West Nile.
This year, the birds tested positive across Lee. “Inland, southern, barrier islands-the entire county,” said Deputy Director Eric Jackson. “I’m warning people because I know that. Be careful and be careful.”
There is a West Nile vaccine for horses, but no vaccine for dogs, cats and humans.
“Preventing mosquito bites is the only way to prevent the West Nile,” said Tammy Isagire, a spokesperson for Lee County. The best preventive measure is “drainage and covering”. This, as the name implies, means making permanent water unavailable to spawning female mosquitoes.
The good news is that Lee doesn’t have a human case this year, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a bad year for bugs. (Yes, strictly speaking, it’s an insect.)
The drought was followed by heavy rains and storm surges, which led to a surge in the population of various species inhabiting the region. Different types of mosquitoes transmit different diseases, from canine filamentous worms to swarms of diseases called arbovirus, which is an abbreviation for arthropod-borne virus, such as dengue, chikungunya, malaria, and yellow fever. Keys has experienced at least 16 cases of dengue this year, and Lee is concerned about this, but so far no cases have been reported here.
Only 20% of people infected with the West Nile virus get sick, Jackson said, but West Nile disease can range from mild but annoying flu-like symptoms to deadly meningitis. ..
According to Ministry of Health statistics, Lee had the last confirmed case in 2018, with one patient. One in 2009 and one in 2010, and four in 2013, the earliest years for which data were available.
Sentinel chickens are an important part of the country’s largest single-county mosquito control district and its disease control strategy. Its 90+ members’ year-round staff includes over 40 avid biologists, entomologists, research engineers, over 100 vehicles and a fleet of six H-125 helicopters in several small countries. Includes an air force comparable to. Four King Air fixed-wing aircraft and two vintage DC-3s that blow up the night sky with a spray mission.
Lee’s district is enviably well-equipped. This year, this year’s tax was $ 25.39 million, which was set at 225.39 million mils this year, according to Jackson. This means that anyone who owns a $ 100,000 home prior to the home exemption will pay Mosquito Stories Control $ 25.39 per year.
The money buys speed and efficiency for the inhabitants. Unlike many other districts, Lee has its own laboratory and can respond faster than other counties, so you have to wait for samples to be sent to Tampa’s state laboratory for testing. , Said Milton Sterling, manager of scientific information in the district.
Lee’s district can perform two major in-house tests on chicken blood. ELISA or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detects the presence of mosquito-borne viral antibodies in chicken blood samples, Sterling said. In the lab, blood is centrifuged in a centrifuge to separate red blood cells from serum and cultured on serum-treated plates to reveal the presence of the virus.
It also uses a genetic test called the real-time polymerase chain reaction. This test crushes, spins, and cleans mosquitoes to obtain the genetic information of the virus.
“These results provoke our response,” Jackson said, with samples taken on Monday producing results on Wednesday. If they had to wait for Tamparabo, “It wasn’t until the end of the week, by then we would have missed the opportunity to respond … and that could make a big difference.”
When dealing with the mosquito life cycle, timing is everything and can develop in a few days. The idea is to be able to treat the waters where the larvae are developing before they appear as chewing adults. A few days delay can make a big difference, Sterling said.
Chicken blood indicates the presence of the disease, but the birds themselves do not, Sterling said. Their eggs are distributed to the district staff, and once the veins are difficult to pull, the district retires them. “When they finish their term, we make them available to farmers,” he said.
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