Council has recently joined a statewide programme tracking the spread of Murray Valley Encephalitis. Historically this disease has been limited to the north of Western Australia but recent years have seen notifications as far south as Dongara. This disease if contracted can be deadly and is carried by mosquitoes.
The Shire of Gingin has established a sentinal chicken flock as an indicator to the prevalence of the disease within the municipality. Local mosquitoes when biting the chicken can pass the disease on in this way. The disease is asymptomatic within the chicken but causes the body to create antibodies.
A small blood sample is taken from each of the twelve chickens which is then sent for analysis. Should antibodies to the disease be prevalent in any of the blood samples taken an alert can be released within the area in order to educate members of our community to the risk of infection.
Council's Environmental Health Officer is advised by the Health Department of Western Australia if any member of our community is diagnosed with a notifiable disease. This allows an investigation to occur to try and determine where the disease has been contracted.