As we go to press, Florida, the state hit hardest by West Nile Virus last year with 492 equine cases, reports 15 equine cases in 2002 — and five cases of EEE — with lower mosquito activity.
This year, many eyes are watching Louisiana, which has 11 people and 16 horses confirmed positive at this time. Kentucky had eight cases in 2001 and two so far for 2002, including a yearling who received the two-dose vaccination series. Mississippi has had eight equine cases to date.
WNV was detected for the first time in North Dakota this year, in a young gelding from Grand Forks County. Texas also hit the WNV news for the first time this year with a bang: 13 positive horses.
States reporting 2002 WNV activity include: District of Columbia, Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU: If you had West Nile Virus activity detected in your state last year, you are again at high risk this year. We suggest if West Nile has been detected in a neighboring state, you should also be on alert.
The pattern of spread was initially up and down the East Coast from Long Island then inland to adjacent counties then adjacent states and into southern portions of Canada. WNV was also detected for in 2001 in a human on a small Cayman island, just south of Miami.
This year, the virus “jumped” the Mississippi River but will have a more formidable barrier to deal with when it reaches the desert states: the Rocky Mountains. The EEE virus, which has a similar bird-mosquito-horse cycle, still hasn’t made its way across the Rockies.
If you suspect your horse has symptoms of encephalitis notify your vet immediately.
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Click here to view ”Tracking West Nile.”