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- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)6
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)36
- Tanker truck catches fire near Oak Ridge (04/24/16)7
- Local company makes eco-friendly kitty litter that cuts cat-box smell (04/25/16)
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
Chickens to help monitor spread of virus
CAVE SPRINGS, Mo. -- John Larson's 30 free-range chickens in Southwest Missouri have become part of a project to monitor the spread of the West Nile virus in the state.
Army reservists go to Larson's 10-acre farm north of Cave Springs once a month to test the flock for the virus that first appeared in Missouri last year among crows in the St. Louis area.
Since late July, the virus is the confirmed or suspected cause of death for 23 birds and nine horses around the state. There have been no confirmed human cases in Missouri.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department called Larson earlier this year to ask about testing the flock of Sentinel chickens that he keeps as a hobby. The agency was looking for someone with a small flock of chickens that would be kept for several years.
Two other farmers in the area also cooperated in the testing.
"Chickens typically don't die from the West Nile virus, they build antibodies to fight it off and we test for those antibodies," said Clay Goddard, environment community health planner for the Health Department.
This is the first year the testing has been done on chickens in Missouri.
So far, none of the Springfield-area specimens has tested positive for the virus.