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    [RC] Fwd: Texas' Sees Its First Case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Horse (Col - ALISON MUELLER

    It's here..............

    From: carla everett <ceverett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
    To: (Colleagues)
    Subject: Texas' Sees Its First Case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Horse (Col
    Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 16:10:32 -0500

    Texas Animal Health Commission
    Box l2966 *Austin, Texas 78711 *(800) 550-8242* FAX (512) 719-0719
    Linda Logan, DVM, PhD* Executive Director
    For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242,
    ext. 710,   or ceverett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    For Immediate Release July 3, 2002
    Texas' Sees Its First Case
    of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Horse

    Preliminary tests on a sick horse that was euthanized Saturday, June 29,
    near Katy in far west Harris County, indicate that the animal was infected
    with West Nile Virus (WNV),  a form of "sleeping sickness" first detected
    in Texas in two dead blue jays June 18 on the northwest side of Houston.
    According to the Texas Department of Health (TDH), another 29 infected
    birds have since been found.

    "We were notified today (July 3) that tests run on samples of the horses's
    blood and spinal fluid were positive for WNV.  The tests were run both at
    the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) in College
    Station, and at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames,
    Iowa," said Dr. Linda Logan, Texas' state veterinarian and executive
    director for the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state's
    livestock health regulatory agency.

    "The NVSL is running additional confirmation tests on the blood samples,
    but more than likely, we are seeing Texas' first case of West Nile Virus in
    a horse. Diagnosing WNV must be based on laboratory confirmation, as the
    signs of the disease, including staggering or the inability to rise, can
    mimic other diseases, including rabies, or other encepalitic diseases, such
    as Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)."

    WNV was unheard of in North America until l999, when it was detected in
    birds in New York. The virus, which can cause brain swelling and severe
    illness in horses , previously had been confined to Africa, Europe, Asia,
    and the Middle East.   WNV has spread to 20 US states, following the
    migratory flight patterns of birds along the Eastern Seaboard and west as
    far as Texas.   In 2001, 738 horses, donkeys or other members of the equine
    family were diagnosed with the disease in the U.S., and  about 20 percent
    of the animals had to be euthanized, due to the severity of their illness.

    "Blue jays, crows and more than 70 other species of birds can carry the
    virus, but it is the mosquito that puts the disease cycle in motion,"
    explained Dr. Logan.  "After feeding on infected birds, mosquitoes ingest
    the virus, and about one percent of the pests then become infected and
    capable of spreading the virus to horses or humans.  There have been no
    documented cases of animals or humans spreading the disease.  Dogs and cats
    appear to be resistant to the disease."

    "Home and stable owners should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites,"
    said Dr. Joe Garrett, a veterinarian with the TDH's Zoonosis Control
    Division.  "Get rid of stagnant water, drain flowerpots, keep bird baths
    clean and cut weeds down to discourage mosquito breeding grounds.  Apply
    insect repellents, and put up screens to protect your home or stable from
    being 'invaded' by mosquitoes.  There is no vaccine for people, but
    fortunately, human cases of WNV are extremely rare.  However, see your
    physician immediately if you develop signs of the disease, which include
    fever, headache, body aches and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection
    may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness."

    "We continue to work with other agencies to urge horse owners to have their
    animals vaccinated against WNV, and with the diagnosis of this disease in
    the Houston area, all possible preventive efforts are import to stop the
    spread of this disease," said Dr. Richard Ferris,
    area-veterinarian-in-charge for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
    Veterinary Services in Texas.  "We are investigating other potential cases
    in horses in Harris County and are awaiting test results.  If you live in
    the Houston area, protect your horses from mosquitoes.  While a vaccine is
    available for horses, the animal must receive two doses of WNV vaccine
    three to six weeks apart, and full protection does not begin until at least
    four to six weeks after the second dose of vaccine is administered," he
    said.  "I'd urge owners to take action now to get horses protected."

    "If your horse becomes ill and goes off feed, sways, develops head tremors,
    muscle twitches or cannot rise, contact your veterinarian, so he or she can
    collect and send in samples to us for diagnostic testing," said Dr. Lelve
    Gayle, executive director of the TVMDL.  Laboratory confirmation of cases
    is particularly important for tracking the
    movement of WNV within the state.

    Dr. Garrett said the TDH is continuing its WNV disease surveillance
    statewide, which includes testing mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays, hawks
    and sampling zoo birds.    Dead crows, blue jays or hawks can be submitted
    for laboratory examination, by calling the nearest regional Texas
    Department of Health office or the Texas Department of Health in Austin at

    "If you are picking up a dead bird, wear gloves and wash your hands
    afterward," explained Dr. Garrett. "The bird could have had parasites of
    other illnesses, and it's
    always advisable to keep a barrier---like gloves--between you and the dead

    Dr. Logan reminded livestock owners that, as always, the TAHC operates a
    24-hour hotline at 1-800-550-8242 for taking reports of unusual signs in
    livestock, including:
    			1. staggering, falling, or inability to rise
    			2. illness affecting a large percentage of animals
    			3. sudden death loss
    			4. blistering around an animal's lips, teats or hooves
    			5. unusual ticks or maggots

    Additional information about WNV can be accessed on the internet at:


    Alison Mueller
    Lochwood Acres
    8319 County Rd 2418
    Royse City, TX 75189
    Where you find quality and color.

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