West Nile Virus detected in PBC

By Al Pefley - bio | email

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - For the first time in two years, there's a West Nile Virus outbreak in Palm Beach County.

You might say health officials' worst fears have "come home to roost".

The county health department has several flocks of sentinel chickens in the county that it monitors for West Nile.

One of the chickens in the central part of the county has just tested positive for West Nile virus, a disease that is spread by mosquitoes.

The symptoms of West Nile include headaches, fever, disorientation, muscle stiffness and weakness. In rare cases, it can also be fatal.

"It makes me, actually it makes me very nervous, because I bike almost every night and almost every morning," said Jessica Ewing of West Palm Beach, whom we spoke with outside a supermarket.

"I think we have to worry about it a bit. But I don't think we should get too paranoid about it also," said Valerie Linstroth of West Palm Beach, whom we found at an ice cream parlor.

There have been no human cases of west nile virus in South Florida reported so far.

West Nile Virus has not been detected in Palm Beach County since November 2007.

People with respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid
spreading infections, including influenza, to others in the community.

The Palm Beach County Health Department recommends:

  • Limit your exposure by not going outside at dusk or dawn.

  • If you are outside, avoid getting bitten by wearing long sleeves, long pants, socks

  • Use an insect repellant containing DEET.

  • Drain any standing water from around your dwelling

  • Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill.