Kansas West Nile Virus confirmed
MANHATTAN — The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health (KDA–DAH) was notified in August by the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory that a horse in Reno County has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The horse was euthanized due to the severity of the illness. This was the first reported equine case of WNV in Kansas in 2017. Horse owners are encouraged to vaccinate their horses to prevent the spread of WNV.
Another horse in Finney County has also been tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). The facility is under quarantine and all the exposed horses were tested, with five additional positive EIA horses. Since the disease is not curable, the affected horses will be euthanized. The remaining horses at the facility will be observed and retested in 60 days.
West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in Kansas and in the United States. It causes severe neurological disease in horses. Birds and humans are also susceptible to the virus; other livestock and pet animals are not susceptible to WNV. Clinical signs in horses can include fever, uncoordination, generalized weakness, drooping lips, teeth grinding and inability to rise. There is no specific treatment for WNV, but there are several effective vaccines available for use in horses.
Vaccines have proven to be a very effective prevention tool. Horses that have been vaccinated in past years will need an annual booster shot. Horse owners should also consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate disease prevention plan for their horses.
In addition to vaccinations, horse owners also need to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas.
For more information about WNV or other animal disease issues in Kansas, go to the KDA–DAH website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/AnimalHealth . For more information, call KDA–DAH at 785-564-6601.
In humans, arboviral diseases are those that are spread from arthropods, such as mosquitoes and ticks to humans. West Nile virus is the leading cause of arboviral disease in the United States and Kansas in humans. Infection with West Nile virus ranges from febrile illness to neuroinvasive disease, such as meningitis or encephalitis, and can cause death. From 1999 – 2015 there were a total of 43,937 cases and 1,911 deaths in the United States from West Nile virus; 533 cases of WNV and 19 deaths have occurred in Kansas. There is no available vaccine to prevent human infection. Personal protection measures to reduce exposure to mosquito bites is the primary method of West Nile virus disease prevention. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment works with partners to estimate the risk of human disease to help guide prevention efforts for both communities and individuals.
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