Adult Mosquito Surveillance & Disease Monitoring
During the months from April to November, we routinely set out light traps baited with 3lbs. of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) at predetermined locations throughout the county, as well as conducting daily landing rate counts.Both of these give us valuable information regarding adult mosquito populations.
One of the more important year round surveillance projects is the monitoring of our sentinel chicken flocks for mosquito-borne viruses. We have flocks scattered throughout the county with the sole purpose of providing us with an early indicator for St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and West Nile Viruses (WNV).
Every week we visit our chicken flocks to bleed them for virus analysis. The blood is drawn, spun down in a centrifuge, and sent to the Florida Department of Health Tampa Branch laboratory. The lab tests the blood for antibodies to the SLE, EEE, and WNV viruses. If antibodies are present, then we up the tempo of our surveillance From this point our main concern is to keep track of where the virus might be moving by sampling our chickens.
Our attention then shifts to identifying the species of mosquito responsible for carrying the virus. This is done by collecting and identifying mosquitoes from the infected bird site and sending them to the State Epidemiology Lab for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis.