Protect horses, humans from West Nile virus

August 28, 2012

By Staff

The state veterinarian issued a reminder Aug. 22 to vaccinate horses against West Nile virus, as health officials reported a spike in human cases nationwide.

Veterinarians have had success in using vaccines for protection against West Nile virus, a potentially fatal disease in horses.

Washington led the nation in confirmed equine cases in 2009 (72 cases) and 2008 (41 cases).

Mosquitoes spread West Nile virus after the insects feed on infected birds. Infected horses do not spread the disease to other horses, humans or other animals.

Ill horses show a loss of coordination, loss of appetite, confusion, fever, and stiffness and muscle weakness, particularly in the hindquarters.

Learn more about West Nile virus from the state Department of Health at www.doh.wa.gov/WNV.

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