The country is experiencing the worst outbreak of West Nile in nearly a decade. Now the virus is showing up in Bay County.
Sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile, EEE and St. Louis Encephalitis.
That has prompted health officials to place Bay County under a mosquito-borne illness advisory, joining Washington, Walton and Holmes Counties.
Bay County joins several other surrounding counties in making sure residents know to take extra precaution when spending time outdoors.
All the rain the panhandle has been getting is what is causing an increase in the mosquito population, with that comes an increase in mosquito-borne illnesses.
"The activity is there and we need to be more aware that this is occurring in our area,” said Doug Kent with Bay County Health Department. “Not only in the surrounding counties, but now in this county. What we're doing is because you see the activities rise up in these sentinel chickens. In other words, they're standing in place of the humans."
There are things you can do to prevent getting bitten by a mosquito, health officials call them the 5 "D's". Drain standing water, dress in long sleeves around dust and dawn, use bug spray that contains at least 30% DEET.
Officials say that the advisory probably will not be lifted for a while.
"With the rain like we have and blooming of mosquitoes, I would think it would be no time real soon that we'll be out of this," said Kent.
You are asked to please report dead birds to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website at http://www.myfwc.com/bird/.
The health department will continue to monitor for mosquito-borne illnesses.