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July 20, 2012
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Colorado horses infected with West Nile Virus


Two equine cases of West Nile Virus have been diagnosed in Colorado, with one of the positive tests reported in Weld County, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

The other case was reported in Fremont County. Both horses are currently being treated for symptoms related to West Nile.

Christi Lightcap with the ag department said the office could not release further details regarding the Weld County case.

The two cases represent the first reports of West Nile Virus this year. Late summer and early fall have traditionally been the time of year when West Nile cases are reported in horses, according to Colorado State veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr.

“In the past few years there have been very few reported equine cases of WNV in Colorado,” he added. “It is difficult to project how many WNV cases we may see in the coming months.”

West Nile Virus is a disease that threatens the health of humans, horses and other animals. The transmission of the disease varies from year to year and depends on a number of factors, including mosquito numbers.

The West Nile virus can be carried by infected birds and then spread locally by mosquitoes that bite those birds. The mosquitoes can then pass the virus to humans and animals.

Infected horses may display symptoms, including head tilt, muscle tremors, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of the limbs or partial paralysis. If horses exhibit clinical signs consistent with West Nile, it is very important for horse owners to contact their veterinarian in order to confirm the diagnosis through laboratory testing, according to officials with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Horse owners should consult their private practicing veterinarian to determine an appropriate prevention strategy for their horses.

For updated information concerning new West Nile equine case information, including numbers and location of test positive horses, go to www.fightthebitecolorado.com.




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