West Nile virus confirmed in 26 Texas horses
The total number of Texas horses testing positive for West Nile virus (WNV) has rocketed to 26. The cases are spread across the state, with a lack of vaccination as the prevailing trend in the affected horses. The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) confirmed the WNV cases via serological test.
As of Oct. 13, 2015, TVMDL can confirm horses in the following counties tested positive for WNV.
1. Houston County
2. Atascosa County
3. Jefferson County (3 cases)
4. Roberts County
5. Sterling County
6. Parker County
7. Randall County
8. Liberty County
9. Scurry County
10. Hutchinson County
11. Taylor County
12. Nolan County
13. Trinity County
14. Robertson County (2 cases)
15. Midland County
16. Orange County
17. Harris County (3 cases)
18. Victoria County
19. Cooke County
20. Chambers County
21. Erath County
Symptoms for other neurologic diseases can present similarly; diagnostic testing is the only method to definitively determine infection. In order to have a complete diagnostic picture, TVMDL also recommends veterinarians request additional tests including: Equine Herpesvirus-1, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis.
“This is an unusually high number of WNV positive cases for this year,” said Bruce L. Akey, DVM, MS, TVMDL director. “Additionally, at least seven Texas horses have tested positive for another mosquito-borne disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The state had a rare rainy season at the onset of summer, allowing the mosquito population to swell, and the increase in neurologic diseases borne through mosquito bites is a direct result. There are effective vaccines available to prevent both WNV and EEE.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Animal Health Commission have information related to WNV and mosquito control available for free download. For more information on TVMDL’s equine neurologic testing, visit tvmdl.tamu.edu, or contact the agency headquarters at 1.888.646.5623.
– Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
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