Mosquito-borne virus found in Mobile-area chicken

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Health officials in Mobile County say a chicken used as a lookout for disease has tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis.

Dr. Bernard Eichold, the coastal county’s health office, said Friday the mosquito-borne disease turned up in one of the sentinel poultry flocks placed throughout the county to help officials detect the illnesses and warn humans.

Officials say eastern equine encephalitis can be more dangerous to people than other illnesses caused by mosquito bites. There is no vaccine for humans. Mosquito bites on children should be watched to see if other infections develop, and if so should be treated by a doctor.

Eichold says horse owners should have their animals vaccinated against encephalitis and West Nile virus. They should call a veterinarian immediately if symptoms are observed.

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