Their bravery goes unheralded. Their story unheard. But Miami-Dade County's heroic corps of sentinel chickens is your first line of defense against mosquito-borne diseases, and one such chicken in North Miami came down with a fatal strain of West Nile virus, signaling a return of the disease to the county.
The Miami-Dade Health Department keeps several sentinel chickens throughout the county. They basically serve as mosquito bait, and when one of the chickens comes down with a disease, area doctors are told to be on the lookout for possible cases in humans.
Ah, those brave chickens. Sadly, this particular one has already passed on, giving its life for our health.
No cases in humans have been reported yet, but about 90 percent of human cases do not present symptoms. However, children and the elderly are particularly susceptible, and patients might show symptoms such as headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and confusion. The disease in some cases can be fatal.