West Nile Virus Detected in Del. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

West Nile Virus Detected in Del.

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

MILFORD, Del. - It has been a decade since nearly 10,000 people were infected with West Nile Virus nationwide in 2003. Now, the virus is popping up in Delaware once again. Two chickens and one bird have been infected with the virus. Health officials said this not a reason to panic just yet, but that it is something to be concerned with.

The growth is normal for the summer months, according to Delaware officials. They said that the growth is only troublesome if it continues to spread. In order to monitor this virus, Delaware has spread 96 chickens throughout Delaware. And if you are walking through the secluded woods in Milford, then you might here four of them clucking.

Jamie Joachimowski works for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's Mosquito Control Section, and has the job of handling many of these chickens in the state.

"The chickens are pretty cooperative," he said. "They're pretty calm chickens. They're easy to work with." 

In Milford, chicken number 433 clucked loudly as Joachimowski showed WBOC the testing process. Twice a week, one of the four chickens in each location is tested for West Nile Virus through blood letting. So far two chickens, one from Leipsic and the other from Georgetown have been found to be infected with West Nile Virus.

"This is normal," he said. "Typically august into September months - late summer months are peak months for West Nile activity in the state or actually in the country."

In Lincoln, Wayne Farissier was building a mirror for his outside lawn. He said that despite the threat, he would not stop working outside.  

"You can't live in fear," he said. "You still have to do what you gotta do."

Farissier said that he was glad to hear the government was monitoring the growth of this virus, and felt confident that Delaware would be safe from West Nile.

"I think the mosquito control in the state is on top of it," he said. 

Senior citizens are the most affected by this virus. And this has some people, such as 83-year old John WIlkins worried about working outside for long periods of time.

"The virus would mean a lot to me," he said. "Because you want to stick around as long as you can. So you wouldn't want to go down with something like that - something real simple if there's a way to prevent it."

On top of these two infected chickens, officials said they have also found one infected bird as well. They said that to avoid this from becoming a human problem, people should wear bug spray and stay away from areas where there is a big mosquito population.

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