Chickens First Line of Defense

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Chicken coops are cropping up all around Churchill County.
But it doesn't signal a big increase in the poultry industry.
The 60 or so chickens are being deployed as sentinels for West Nile
The chickens in the 12 coops are tested regularly for
encephalitis and West Nile virus, since encephalitis is endemic to
the area. The flocks are also good for detecting avian flu, should
it ever reach Nevada.
Four cases of West Nile virus were reported in Churchill County
last year.
83-year-old Fallon resident Glenn Downer died last October after
being infected with the mosquito-borne virus in August of 2004. He
was bedridden for more than seven months before he died.