Friday, August 5, 2011

West Nile Virus Is An Invasive Species

Vaccinate Horses for West Nile Virus Now

A third of horses infected with West Nile Virus will die;
 a third of those that survive will be paralyzed or have to be euthanized.
photo by Dave Powell,USDA Forest Service,
West Nile Virus is showing up early in Georgia this year.  Horses are highly vulnerable to this disease, and over a third of horses that get West Nile die.  There is no treatment.  If your horse has not already been vaccinated this year, call your veterinarian now and make an appointment to get the West Nile (and Eastern Equine Encephalitis) vaccination.
Photo by J. Kim Kaplan,
There is no West Nile vaccine for humans, so disease prevention must rely on avoiding mosquitoes.  Wear long sleeves, long pants, and insect repellent when outdoors.  Encourage your neighbors to pour out any standing water in the community (mosquito larvae can complete their development in less than a cup of water in a tin can).  Standing water that cannot be drained (ditches, for instance) can be treated with “mosquito dunks” or “mosquito donuts” (containing the non-toxic mosquito larva killer Bti).  Cut back bushes and shrubs to increase air flow around the home and discourage mosquito flight. 
West Nile Virus and the mosquitos which carry it are non-native
 and considered invasive because of the harm they cause
 to animals and humans in this country.
Photo by Susan Ellis,