West Nile Virus detected in Cumberland County horse, four others in East Tennessee

Horse Owners Urged to Take Precautions

NASHVILLE– The state veterinarian has announced five new cases of horses sickened by West Nile Virus (WNV) in East Tennessee.

Two horses in Washington County recently tested positive for WNV. Bradley, Cumberland, and Sullivan counties are reporting one case in each county.  Sick horses cannot directly infect people with WNV.

Mosquitoes and other biting insects are responsible for transmission of WNV. Symptoms in horses may include fever, weakness, loss of appetite, or convulsions. The illness can cause lasting effects and, in some cases, can be fatal.

“Even though it is starting to feel like fall, mosquito-borne illnesses remain a health threat for horses in Tennessee,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “Horse owners should take preventative measures to protect their livestock year-round. The vaccine for WNV is extremely effective. Your veterinarian can help you decide the best vaccination plan for your horse.”

Other tips include:

  • Never share needles, dental, or surgical equipment among different animals.
  • Eliminate standing water sources where insects may gather and breed.
  • Manage manure and disposal.
  • Apply fly sprays and insect repellants as needed.

The C. E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory now offers a full line of equine disease testing, including WNV, equine infectious anemia (EIA), equine herpes virus (EHV), equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and equine influenza virus (EIV). Contact your veterinarian for more information.

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