The first horse in 2011 to test positive to the West Nile Virus is from Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(VDACS) today announced the horse was from Berryville/Clarke County.
It had been vaccinated for WNV but was due for a booster in September.
A nasal swab and serum sample was submitted to VDACS' Regional Animal Health Laboratory in Warrenton for suspicion of Equine Herpes Virus infection, but it tested positive for West Nile Virus.
The horse was treated for the virus for 24 hours, but was later euthanized on Aug. 31.
Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS' Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV.
"This is our first case of West Nile Virus in a Virginia horse this
year," Garvin said.
He adds that, so far, Virginia has not had any cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
"Both WNV and EEE are mosquito-borne diseases," he said, "and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. Since both diseases are preventable by vaccination, it may make sense for horse owners to go ahead and vaccinate now even though it's late in the year. Mosquito season in Virginia can run through November."
Prevention methods besides vaccination include destroying
standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, use of insect repellents and removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn.
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