The West Nile Virus (WNV) is carried by mosquitoes and can infect humans, horses, and birds. The clinical signs involve primarily the nervous system, with headache, high fever, disorientation, seizures, coma, and rarely death. In horses, the signs include difficulty walking, staggering, knuckling over, muscle tremors, head tilt and inability to stand.
Wild birds infected with West Nile Virus can become ill or die. The majority of cases have been observed in crows. However, twenty native bird species have demonstrated infection with the WNV. Thousands of dead wild birds were reported positive for WNV in 2000 in twelve states from New Hampshire to Virginia. This year the WNV has been reported in Canada (Ontario) for the first time. The virus recently has been identified in the midwestern states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin based on disease surveillance techniques.
There is no documented evidence of person-to-person, animal-to-animal, or animal-to-person transmission of WNV. Mosquitoes carry the virus. Not every mosquito carries the virus. The WNV has not been found in Washington or nearby states. Continued proper surveillance activities are necessary:
* Report unexplained, unusual numbers of bird deaths, especially crows, jays, ravens, or magpies to the Department of Health at 360-236-3060.
* Physicians on alert for persons with appropriate clinical signs
* Report horses with appropriate clinical signs (clinical signs cannot be distinguished from other viral encephalitis infections like Western Equine Encephalitis)
* Establishment of a statewide mosquito surveillance network
* Any person, animal, or bird suspected of having West Nile virus or other viruses carried by mosquitoes must have appropriate laboratory testing.
On August 1, 2001, the USDA and Fort Dodge Animal Health announced the approval of an inactivated vaccine against WNV for use in horses. Talk with your veterinarian; decide together if WNV vaccine would be appropriated for your horse.
More information and updates can be obtained at www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/wnv/index.html. Or call the Washington State Department of Health at (360) 236-3362 or 236-3060.
Warmest regards and good health to you, your families and animal companions through the holidays and New Year!
-- Frosty Franklin
Baxter Black - Empty Places at the Christmas Table
Real Estate Section - Water Pipe Tips During Cold Weather
Can Teach Your
Bridle Wise - Evaluate Your Horseís IQ
The Gallop Pole - Standard Head & Leg Markings
Youth of the Month - Jamie Holcomb
|December 11, 2001 11:24 PM|