WNV in horses count up to 42

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Staff report

More horses have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Suffolk than any Virginia community.

According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 42 horses have tested positive so far, six of which were in Suffolk.

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Fauquier and Chesapeake have had four WNV-positive cases each.

Other localities, and their number of confirmed WNV cases include: Bedford, 3; Augusta, 3; Rockingham, 3; Spotsylvania, 2; Virginia Beach, 2; Culpeper, 2; and on each from Botetourt, Buckingham, New Kent, Stafford, Westmoreland, Albemarle, Madison, Prince William, Caroline, Page, and Powhatan.

Of the 42 horses, three died, 17 were euthanized and 20 are recovering. The outcome in two cases is unknown. Only one of the 42 horses had been full vaccinated; six had been partially vaccinated. The only fully vaccinated horse recovered completely on its own without medical treatment.

Cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been confirmed in horses from Suffolk, Chesapeake, Madison, Pittsylvania, and Powhatan.

&uot;This is a significant expansion westward from the typical distribution of the disease,&uot; A VDACS press release stated.

In addition to the horses, a flock of eight emus in Stafford County died, one of which was tested and confirmed for EEE. The press release stated that it’s likely the other seven emus, which were not tested, also died of EEE.

Both WNV and EEE are mosquito-borne diseases. Vaccines exist for both viruses, but with the presence of the diseases statewide and the prevalence of mosquitoes in most areas, it may be too late to vaccinate for the 2003 season, the press release stated. Mosquito control may be the best way to prevent infection between now and the first hard freeze. Horse owners should check with their veterinarians about the advisability of vaccination.

For a breakdown of cases by locality, visit VDACS’ Web site at www.vdacs.state.va.us/animals/wnv-eee.html.