West Nile virus confirmed in Wayne County horses

West Nile virus confirmed in Wayne County horses
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The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently confirmed five positive cases of West Nile virus in Wayne County horses.

                        

The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently confirmed five positive cases of West Nile virus in Wayne County horses. The horses were not vaccinated against WNV. The spread of WNV is preventable in horses with proper vaccination. Horse owners are advised to ensure their animals are vaccinated and boosters are up to date.

West Nile virus is transmitted to horses via bites from infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs for WNV include flu-like symptoms where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed. Changes in mentality, drowsiness, driving or pushing forward (often without control), and asymmetrical weakness may be observed. Mortality rate from WNV can be as high as 30-40 percent in horses.

WNV is prevalent in the United States, and Ohio has reported positive cases in horses each of the last few years. To date, 64 Ohio counties participating in statewide mosquito surveillance have some form of WNV activity, whether that is human cases, veterinary cases or positive mosquito samples.

In addition to vaccinations, horse owners should work to reduce the mosquito population and eliminate possible breeding sites by removing stagnant water sources, keeping animals inside during the bugs’ feeding times and using mosquito repellents.

For additional information regarding West Nile virus, call the Wayne County Health Department’s nursing unit at 330-264-9590.


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