MLHD Rooster Surveillance Program Runs to Take a look at for Mosquito-borne Viruses The Day by day Advertiser

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Riverina Health Authorities have used an unusual method to ward off potentially dangerous mosquito-borne viruses. Four flocks of 15 chickens have been placed in homes in Leeton, Griffith, Hay and Deniliquin, where they will be tested for diseases such as Ross River Fever and Murray Valley Encephalitis, which can be fatal in humans. The Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Sentinel Chicken Surveillance Program runs for six months from November to April and coincides with mosquito capture and analysis at multiple locations in the region. Tony Burns, MLHD’s chief environmental health officer, said the chickens are being used as an “early warning device” to detect arboviruses spread by infected insects. Mr Burns said the chickens are drawn weekly with a “needle prick” machine, which is then sent from the samples to the Sydney Center for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology for analysis. “When mosquitoes are around and carry them [a] Virus and they bite the chook, we can bleed the chook to see if they carry the virus or not, “Burns said.” Mosquitoes are attracted to … the fact that we exhale carbon dioxide. Humans and animals exhale carbon dioxide. “Mr Burns said this year’s chicken program is still in its infancy, but no viruses have been detected so far. He said health officials have been using chickens to test for viruses for 25 years, a method included in the NSW government’s broader program was introduced to monitor arboviruses that began more than 40 years ago. “It probably started in the late 1970s or 1980s when we had a serious outbreak of encephalitis, which is a very serious disease, along the Murray River. “he said. An MLHD spokeswoman said the organization is working closely with local authorities to find suitable volunteers who are trained and whose hen house will be inspected by a veterinarian from the primary industry department.

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December 11, 2020 – 6.30 p.m.

Riverina Health Authorities have used an unusual method to ward off potentially dangerous mosquito-borne viruses.

Four flocks of 15 chickens have been placed in homes in Leeton, Griffith, Hay and Deniliquin, where they will be tested for diseases such as Ross River Fever and Murray Valley Encephalitis, which can be fatal in humans.

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Sentinel Chicken Surveillance Program runs for six months from November to April and coincides with mosquito capture and analysis at multiple locations in the region.

Tony Burns, MLHD’s chief environmental health officer, said the chickens are being used as an “early warning device” to detect arboviruses spread by infected insects.

Mr Burns said the chickens are drawn weekly with a “needle prick” machine, which is then sent from the samples to the Sydney Center for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology for analysis.

“When mosquitoes are around and carry them [a] Virus and they bite the chook, we can bleed the chook to see if they are carrying the virus or not, “Mr. Burns said.

“Mosquitos are attracted to … the fact that we breathe out carbon dioxide. So humans and animals breathe out carbon dioxide.”

Mr Burns said this year’s chicken program is still in its infancy, but no viruses have been detected so far.

He said health officials have been using chickens to test for viruses for 25 years, a method that was introduced into the NSW government’s broader program of arbovirus surveillance that began more than 40 years ago.

“It probably started in the late 1970s or 1980s when we had a serious outbreak of encephalitis, which is a very serious disease, along the Murray River,” he said.

An MLHD spokeswoman said the organization is working closely with local authorities to find suitable volunteers who are trained and whose hen house will be inspected by a veterinarian from the primary industry department.

Leo Manwaring and Rosie.  Image: Kenji Sato

Leo Manwaring and Rosie. Image: Kenji Sato

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