The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently confirmed the first positive case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Champaign County horse for 2018. The horse had not been vaccinated. The spread of WNV in horses is preventable with proper vaccination and horse owners are urged to ensure their animal’s vaccine and boosters are up to date.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to horses and humans via bites from infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs for WNV include flu-like symptoms, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed. Changes in mentality, drowsiness, driving or pushing forward (often without control) and asymmetrical weakness may be observed. Mortality rate from WNV can be as high as 30-40 percent in horses. Infection with WNV does not always lead to signs of illness in people or animals. WNV is endemic in the United States and Ohio has reported positive cases in horses each of the last few years. There were 14 confirmed cases of WNV in Ohio in 2017.
Clinical signs in humans include headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. More severe symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
If you have any questions, please contact the Champaign Health District at 937-484-1605. For further information on West Nile Virus, please click the following link: