West Nile Virus Detected in West Tennessee Horse

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The state veterinarian confirmed on Friday that a horse in Gibson County has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

“The recent case of WNV is a reminder of measures horse owners can take to prevent this disease and others,” State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “Environmental controls against mosquitoes can stave off WNV, and horse owners should vaccinate against the virus. There is no cure for WNV, so prevention is key.”

WNV is transmitted directly from infected mosquitos to equines, birds, and humans but not between animals or people. Symptoms in horses may include fever, weakness, weight loss, and circling or convulsions. WNV can cause lasting effects and can be fatal. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness in your animals.

Tips to prevent vector-borne viruses include:

  • Eliminate standing water sources and damp areas where insects could gather and breed.
  • Keep animals inside during insect feeding times, typically morning and evening.
    Manage manure and disposal.
  • Keep barns clean and apply fly sprays and insect repellants as needed.
  • Never share needles, dental, or surgical equipment among different animals.
  • Consult with your veterinarian to determine appropriate vaccinations for your herd.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division is responsible for promoting animal health in Tennessee. The state veterinarian’s office seeks to prevent the spread of disease through import and movement requirements, livestock traceability, disaster mitigation, and the services of the C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory. The division collaborates with other health-related stakeholders, academic institutions, and extension services to support One Health, an initiative to improve health for people and animals.

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