JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tropical Storm Andrea's heavy rains and afternoon thunderstorms have left behind pools of standing water during mosquito season.
Sentinel Chickens are the first line of defense against West Nile in Duval County, as City of Jacksonville's Mosquito Control Division tries to target any potential pockets of mosquito breeding.
Samples of blood are taken every week from one of the 30 chickens in places throughout the county, they are then sent to a state lab to see if there are any traces of West Nile.
"There are 47 different mosquitoes in Jacksonville and they all live and breed in different environments and of those 47, we have about 20 that could be a disease vector," said Marah Clark, Entomologist with the Mosquito Control Division.
Mosquito Control has been collecting samples since the end of April and so far, all of the tests have come back negative.
But with warm weather and large amounts of water from the past few days, as water sits, the opportunity for breeding increases.
"A mosquito can breed within just a week, so it doesn't take a lot of time, and one mosquito can lay 200-300 eggs," said John Shellhorn with the Mosquito Control Division.
There were 28 confirmed human cases of West Nile in Duval County in 2012 and Mosquito Control said all of their chickens tested positive for the disease.
As of right now, the Duval County Health Department will not be making any predictions on what we could see this summer, but they're reminding everyone to take precautions, wear the appropriate clothes and use bug spray.
First For You, some helpful reminders on how to prevent mosquito bites and breeding:
-Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying
-Cover skin with clothing or repellent
-Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house
For more information on the signs and symptoms of the West Nile Virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control website.
First Coast News