Increase in West Nile in Missouri Horses

1 decade 1 year 5 months ago Wednesday, August 23 2006 Aug 23, 2006 Wednesday, August 23, 2006 6:54:54 PM CDT August 23, 2006 in News

"I will sure give them a vaccine when they come on the property so I don't have to worry about it," he said.

A University of Missouri veterinarian said all horse owners should do the same.

"We're suggesting it might be a real good idea for horse owners to review the vaccination history of the animals, make sure they have continued to provide booster vaccines as needed, and then vaccinate horses that they may have bought or may have been added to the herd that they don't know the vaccine status of," said Gayle Johnson.

And, Johnson said, this year's increased cases of West Nile in horses is bad news for people.

"Humans are certainly at risk if they live in an environment similar to the horses, rural people particularly," she said.

However, human cases of West Nile in Missouri are down from last year. The first human case in Boone County is a Sturgeon resident, so the Columbia-Boone County Health Department will spray nearby areas to contain the virus. To avoid West Nile, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you're outdoors, remove old tires from your property, clean clogged rain gutters, and clean and chlorinate swimming pools and hot tubs.

Johnson added that West Nile won't peak for horses until mid-September. About one out of every three horses infected last year died from the virus, and Johnson expects about the same this year.

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