Suffolk horse positive for West Nile

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2004

Staff Report

A horse euthanized in Suffolk late last month has tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Wednesday confirmed that the horse is one of six in Virginia that has died from the mosquito-borne disease this year.

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The 2-year-old Quarter Horse had not been vaccinated for the disease.

Other positive cases have occurred in Blacksburg and the counties of Albermarle, Halifax, Prince Edward and Culpepper.

Although it is late in the season, horse owners should still check with their veterinarians about vaccinations, said Dr. Joseph Garvin, program manager of the VDACS office of laboratory services. The agency recommends using the six-month interval vaccination in Virginia, particularly in areas of heavy mosquito activity.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved two commercial vaccines for use with horses. Both require two doses three to six weeks apart and are not fully effective until four to six weeks after the second dose.