Sparks, Nev - June 08, 2020
The Nevada Department of
Agriculture(NDA) urges horse owners
throughout the state to vaccinate against West Nile Virus (WNV). WNV is the
leading mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States and can cause
severe illness in a horse’s brain, spinal cord and nervous system.
Every year, the NDA monitors WNV and other diseases
carried by mosquitos (also known as arboviral), such as Saint Louis
Encephalitis (SLE) and Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) closely for the
protection of public health and the agriculture industry.
“In the Animal
Disease Laboratory, we test mosquito sample pools from across the state to
survey for all three diseases and report our findings to local health
departments,” Laura Morrow, Animal Disease Laboratory supervisor, said.
Nevada residents should take precautions such as eliminating
mosquito-breeding sites, using insect repellents and keeping horses vaccinated
against WNV, SLE and WEE.
“Owners should consult with their veterinarian to
establish a management plan, including vaccination for West Nile Virus,” said
NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Amy Mitchell. “Appropriate preventative care, such
as decreasing exposure to mosquitos and timely vaccination, are both important
in preventing mosquito-borne diseases”.
Dr. Mitchell emphasizes that minimizing horse exposure to mosquitos
can be just as important as vaccination. Mosquito exposure can be minimized
with the use of deterrents and elimination ofunnecessary
standing water around barns and stalls (troughs, buckets, tires, pans, etc.).
WNV has been prevalent in Nevada since 2004, while SLE and
WEE have been widespread in the western United States for decades. All three
can cause severe disease and death in horses and humans. Testing is funded by
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Nevada
Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
About the Nevada Department of Agriculture
The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA)
mission is to preserve, protect and promote Nevada’s agriculture. The
department has 150 dedicated employees providing services in its five
divisions, Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and
Nutrition, and Plant Industry. The department’s $232 million budget facilitates
regulatory and administrative work in agriculture and food manufacturing
industries, protecting public and environmental health and worker safety, and
providing food distribution and oversight for the United States Department of
Agriculture’s school and community nutrition programs.