A confirmed case of West Nile virus has been identified in a horse in Shawnee County.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health announced Friday that the confirmed case involved a horse that had not been vaccinated for the virus. Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith says they strongly encourage all horse owners to consult with their local veterinarian and make a vaccination plan for their horses.
West Nile Virus can infect humans, horses, birds and other species. Symptoms that typically show in infected horses range from depression, loss of appetite and fever, to severe neurologic signs like incoordination, weakness, inability to rise, and hypersensitivity to touch or sound. The virus can be fatal in horses, which is why immediate action is necessary if a horse becomes symptomatic.
The virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes; though KDA says while horses and humans are susceptible, it is not directly contagious from horse to horse or from horse to human. Reducing the mosquito populations and possible breeding areas are strongly recommended to prevent possible transmission.
More information about West Nile and other animal disease issues can be found at the KDA Division of Animal Health website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/