Sentinel chickens, mosquito pools test positive for viruses in Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. - Sentinel chickens have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and nine mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Norfolk, the Norfolk Department of Health announced Thursday.

Officials collected the EEE sample near the 1000 block of Indian River Road. The Vector Control Division sent crews to those areas and fogged the Berkeley and Campostella neighborhoods.

Sentinel chickens are used to monitor diseases in the area.

The department said mosquito control and surveillance measures will continue in those areas.

Mosquito pools that tested positive for WNV were collected from the Fairmont Park, Lafayette Shores, Norfolk Industrial Park and Edgewater areas. The department said Vector Control has already fogged some of these areas.

Officials say fogging, along with storm drain treatments, larviciding and backyard inspections, will continue this week and next week permitting the weather.

"Norfolk residents especially persons over age 50, should take action to prevent and protect themselves and their families from mosquito-borne illnesses such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus, which is spread to birds, humans, horses, and other mammals through the bite of an infected mosquito," said Norman Grefe, Environmental Health Manager.

The department says most people who are bitten do not get sick and the people who do usually suffer a mild flu-like illness. People over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of serious illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

The department has offered the following tips to reduce exposure to mosquitoes:

  • Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
  • If possible, limit outdoor exposure between dusk and dawn.
  • Check window and door screens to ensure that mosquitoes cannot enter your home.
  • Use insect repellants with DEET according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Turn over or remove containers in your yard where water collects, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
  • Eliminate standing water on tarps or flat roofs.
  • Clean out birdbaths, wading pools and swimming pools.
  • Clean roof gutters and downspout screens

Citizens may call (757) 683-2914, option #4 to access the Norfolk Department of Public Health's mosquito hotline. For more information about mosquito control and surveillance measures, call the Vector Control Division at (757) 683-2840 on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.