Now is the time to vaccinate horses against West Nile Virus

First human WNV case reported in southern Nevada


Rebecca Allured
Public Information Officer
(SPARKS, Nev.) - May 24, 2017

With the recent report of a human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in southern Nevada, the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) urges horse owners throughout the state to vaccinate against the disease. WNV can cause severe illness in a horse’s brain, spinal cord and nervous system.

“Vaccination is the best protection horse owners have for their animals,” Dr. JJ Goicoechea, the NDA’s state veterinarian, said. “Vaccinations, in conjunction with practices that reduce exposure to mosquitos, are very effective in protecting horses from WNV.”

Every year, the NDA monitors WNV and other diseases carried by mosquitos (also known as arboviral) very closely for the protection of public health and safety and the agriculture industry.

In addition to WNV, the Animal Disease Laboratory at the NDA tests for two other prevalent arboviral diseases: Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus and Western Equine Encephalitis Virus. All three can cause severe disease and death in humans.

West Nile Virus has been prevalent in Nevada since 2004 while Saint Louis Encephalitis and Western Equine Encephalitis have been widespread in the western United States for decades.

Mosquito season is well underway, and with heavy rain and snowfall earlier in the year, mosquito habitats and breeding sites with standing water are abundant. All Nevada residents should take precautions such as eliminating mosquito-breeding sites around houses and barns, using insect repellents to fight the bite and keeping horses vaccinated against WNV and Western Equine Encephalitis.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture promotes a business climate that is fair, economically viable and encourages environmental stewardship that serves to protect food, fiber and human health and safety through effective service and education. The NDA includes the five divisions of Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition and Plant Industry.