Owners And Vets Must Be Alert For West Nile Virus
Nile Virus, an encephalitis disease affecting horses, humans and
birds and spread by mosquitoes, is threatening to engulf the whole
of the USA - and there is now a risk that the disease could be found
in Europe and the UK, too. A new information resource on the virus
and the disease is now available from Wildlife Information Network
(WIN) an international charity based in the UK.
exported from the UK to the USA are vulnerable to infection, and
are at risk in regions where the virus is known to be present -
which is throughout most of mainland USA.
WNV infection should be suspected in any horse with rapid onset
of neurological disease that has recently visited an area where
West Nile virus is active. Although the virus cycles mainly between
birds and mosquitoes, when horses and man are bitten by infected
mosquitoes they can become seriously ill. In horses the infection
may cause a wide range of signs, from no clinical signs to severe
neurological abnormalities. Nearly one in three horses (up to 62.5%)
with clinical signs either die
or have to be put down - and those that survive the disease can
suffer long-term problems.
Although vaccines are not yet licensed for use in the UK, they are
being used heavily in the USA and all owners and vets shipping horses
to and from the USA should be aware of West Nile Virus and take
steps to minimise the risk of their animals becoming infected in
regions where WNV is active.
The new Wildpro encyclopaedic volume "West Nile Virus"
has been published by WIN to aid recognition, diagnosis and control
(including vaccination) of this disease.
volume forms part of a series covering emerging infectious diseases,
and the health and management of wildlife. This volume was produced
in collaboration with the US Government's USGS-National Wildlife
Health Center and is recognised as the definitive complete information
resource on West Nile Virus. It is fully referenced and
peer-reviewed. The Wildpro "West Nile Virus" volume is
available to members of WIN on the Web-based electronic encyclopaedia
through www.wildlifeinformation.org and on CD-ROM for off-line and